Canmore Eagles forward Connor Hoekstra will represent his country at the World Junior A Challenge in Langley B.C. on Nov. 7-13.
As a member of Team Canada West, he’ll play alongside the best junior A hockey players from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and square off against players from around the globe.
Skating for Team Canada West, Hoekstra was selected by Hockey Canada after a strong tryout in September. Being named one of the top 34 junior A hockey players in Western Canada is an honour, he said.
“It’s a dream come true, wearing the jersey you always wanted to play in when you were a child,” Hoekstra said.
Thirty-four skaters were selected to the team, so there is still a chance the Hoekstra will get cut, however, he is determined to fill a big role on the squad.
“I want to bang bodies, score the odd goal, put pucks in the net,” Hoekstra said. “I’m an energy player.”
Hoekstra has scored 10 goals and added four assists in 15 games for the Eagles this season, adding muscle and scoring punch to the lineup. Listed at 5 foot 11, 185 pounds, Hoekstra hopes to add energy to the Team Canada lineup and proved in training camp he’s not afraid to go to the net.
He was given the news after the team’s 4-3 win over the Camrose Kodiaks on Saturday (Oct. 22). Hoekstra missed the game due to a two-game suspension accrued during Friday’s game against the Kodiaks, however, the news from Andrew Milne, who is an assistant coach with this year’s Team Canada West, buoyed his spirits.
“This will be the top end of my career. I’m excited,” he said.
Hoekstra’s gain will be the Eagles’ loss, as the physical winger could miss a week of AJHL action for the tournament.
Last year, Team Canada West finished fourth in the junior A challenge. They hope to get back into medal contention with a strong club this year.