Portager earns invite to WHL Cup
Central Plains defender Kian Calder, pictured, cracked the roster of Manitoba’s U16 Team ahead of the 2017 WHL Cup. (File photo)
Not an easy roster to crack.
Portage la Prairie hockey player and Central Plains Capitals defender Kian Calder has earned a spot with Team Manitoba’s U16 team that will be competing later this month in Calgary, Alta., as he will take part in the 2017 Western Hockey League Cup.
“It was pretty stressful during the tryout process,” laughs Calder. “It was a lot of fun overall and I’m excited to be heading out with the team.”
The 15-year-old was selected toward the end of last season through player scouting. That was followed by the Program of Excellence Camps held in April, May, and August where players were put to the test on and off the ice on things like skill, stamina, and hockey IQ. The final evaluation took place in September with an exhibition game and Calder found himself on the roster. He was the only player picked from the Central Plains region.
“It’s an honour to be the only player picked from the area,” says Calder. “I’m just hoping to be a strong presence in the defensive and offensive zone. I’ve got some good friends on the team too, so I think we’ll gel quickly on the back-end.”
The 5-foot-10, 191 lbs defender suits up locally for the midget AAA Caps, notching three helpers in five games played thus far in the young season.
“The kid practices with a weighted vest,” adds Caps head coach, Brad Gnidziejko. “He’s a super hard worker. He’s intense, super physical, and plays with a ton of confidence. As a 15-year-old, we use him in just about every situation out there. He’s versatile and he deserves to be a part of the U16 team.”
Other players suiting up alongside Calder later this month include a trio of players from Brandon and Westman South, Yellowhead has two, and Norman and Parkland each had one player selected. The bulk of the roster comes from Winnipeg with nine players making the cut. The tournament runs October 15-22, and right out of the gates the boys are in for a unique test with a match against the National Women’s team’s pre-Olympic roster.