Hockey Canada has invited 37 players from the Western Hockey League (WHL) to their U-17 development camp and among the invitees are a few local connections.
Kelowna’s Lynden Lakovic and Jaxsin Vaughan are two of the invitees along with Lake Country’s Tij Iginla.
Lakovic is a Moose Jaw Warriors prospect and appeared in one game for them this season and in two games for the British Columbia Hockey League’s (BCHL) West Kelowna Warriors. He played the majority of the 2021-22 season for the West Vancouver Academy U18 prep team where he collected 27 points (18 goals, nine assists) in 33 games. The Warriors took him in the second round of the 2021 WHL prospect draft.
Vaughan spent this last season in Kelowna playing for the Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna U18 team where he totalled 37 points (19 goals, 18 assists) in 32 games. He was selected 21st overall by the Regina Pats in the 2021 WHL prospect draft and signed with his brother, Corbin.
Iginla played with Vaughan in Kelowna this past season where he finished second on the team with 48 points (26 goals, 22 assists) in 32 games. In three games with the Seattle Thunderbirds this season in the WHL, he collected one assist. The Thunderbirds took Iginla ninth overall in the 2021 WHL draft. He is the son of hockey hall of famer Jarome Iginla.
Additionally, Gabriel Guilbault is the lone Kelowna Rockets prospect to be invited to camp. In 2021, the Rockets selected Guilbault in the third round (61st overall) in the WHL draft. Last season, he scored two goals and added 18 assists in 30 games for the Burnaby Winter Club U18 prep team. He has committed to the Penticton Vees of the BCHL for the 2022-23 season.
In total, 100 players are invited across Canada to the development in which they will be split into five teams and take part in on and off-ice training, fitness testing, intrasquad games, practices, and classroom sessions.
“The national under-17 development camp is the first stage in introducing these athletes to the Program of Excellence, and it is a great opportunity for them to develop as players and learn what it takes to wear the Maple Leaf,” said Hockey Canada Director of Player Personnel Alan Millar. “We look forward to enhancing these young players’ ongoing development during this camp and starting the process of building our three national U17 teams for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge this fall.”
As the 2022-23 season starts in the fall, the players will continue to be evaluated by Hockey Canada. After some time, 66 players will be selected for three Canadian national teams to partake in the 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge that’s held in Delta and Langley, B.C. from November 5-12.
The camp runs for a week from July 10-16 at the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.