Three Newfoundlanders will represent one of the three Canadian teams in the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge scheduled for Nov. 5-11 in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C.
Forwards Brett Budgell and Alex Newhook of St. John’s, and Dawson Mercer of Bay Roberts will represent Canada in the eight-team tournament.
Sixty-six players were selected to represent Canada on one of its three teams — Team Canada Black, Team Canada Red and Team Canada White. Also slated to compete are the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and United States.
The World U17 Hockey Challenge once had regional representation amongst Canadian teams — Team Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Western and Pacific — but that regional model was changed to include one large pool of players to be evenly distributed amongst three Canadian teams.
Newhook is off to a fast start with the Victoria Grizzlies in the British Columbia Hockey League, a Tier II junior league that’s a breeding ground for U.S. college players. The 16-year-old is 16th overall in league scoring with a pair of goals and 13 assists in 13 games, despite the fact he won’t turn 17 until late January.
Newhook has committed to attend Boston College starting in 2019-2020.
Budgell also appears to be headed the NCAA route. Like Newhook, Budgell is also 16, and plays for the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League, a burgeoning circuit known for producing NCAA players.
Budgell has an assist in two games for the Steel. He is said to be considering a number of scholarship offers from NCAA universities.
Mercer is a rookie with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Drummondville Voltigeurs, where he has four goals in 10 games. He turns 16 the end of this month.
Mercer was the eighth overall pick in the QMJHL draft last summer.