A trio of Cochrane players from the P3 Sports high school hockey training program have been chosen to represent the province at the upcoming Alberta Cup.
Hosted by Hockey Alberta and billed as a development weekend, the Alberta Cup gives coaches and scouts a place to identify and evaluate about 160 of the province’s top young players for potential spots on the Team Alberta roster.
More than 700 players tried out for a spot, and Ty Bauer, Caleb Willms and Nick DeBeurs – classmates at Cochrane High and teammates on the Airdrie Xtreme Bantam AAA team – were all chosen to represent the southern zone at the upcoming 2017 tournament in Canmore.
P3 director Ryan Hilderman said the Alberta Cup is a great place for youth like Bauer, Willms and DeBeurs – who at 14 and 15 years old are in their draft year for the Western Hockey League – to be seen by scouts for teams like the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Kelowna Rockets and Calgary Hitmen.
“All of them have to bring 100 per cent effort, ” Hilderman said. “They’re getting noticed; they’re on the radar. ”
Players will also be assessed for a potential invite to the Team Alberta U16 Male Summer Development Camp in July. Of the 80 players picked to participate in the camp, a final roster of 20 will be chosen to comprise the official Team Alberta and will get to take the ice either in the Western Canada U16 Championships or the Canada Winter Games.
Bauer, an aggressive defenseman, said he’s excited for the opportunity to play at such a high level of hockey in front of people who can help determine his future.
“It’s obviously more pressure, but I’ve got to rise to the occasion and play good and get noticed, ” said Bauer, an aggressive defenseman.
“I’ll definitely (have to) rise to the occasion, with all those eyes watching you, ” echoed Willms.
Hilderman said each of the three teens has a unique skillset that will allow them to shine on the ice.
“I think they’ll all probably lead in different ways. Their skills are through the roof – it’s going to be fun, ” said Hilderman, adding he’s been coaching the trio for more than five years and is proud of how they have grown. “To watch them come up from literally eight or nine years old to where they are today is pretty special. ”
The 2017 Alberta Cup hits the ice from April 26 to 30 at the Canmore Recreation Centre. The WHL draft takes place May 4.