The Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs’ Bobby McMann and Brinson Pasichnuk have been selected to join to top Junior A players in Western Canada for the Junior A Challenge Canada West Camp. Both players have been top point-getters and integral to the Pontiacs’ success. McMann top of the Pontiacs’ point sheet with 39 and Pasichnuk just a few behind at 34 are enough to put McMann one point behind top of the AJHL and Pasichnuk in sixth in the league.
“It was exciting for me,” McMann explains how he was taken back by the invite, “it was something I wasn’t really expecting. It’s nice to get that recognition, I’m looking forward to the tryouts.” It may not have been expected but getting the invite to the camp was a goal of McMann’s early in the season, explains the forward. “I talked with Rick [Swan] at the beginning of the season, just touched on it.” McMann hasn’t let the dream of playing at the Challenge shadow his present, “I haven’t been focusing on it, just been focusing on getting wins and trying to go on a good streak.”
It’s a by-product of us winning and doing so well – Bobby McMann #9 Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs
Should McMann be successful in donning the Canada West jersey, the 19 year old from Wainwright says he’ll cherish every second, “that’ll be so special, I can’t image the feeling that I’ll get, and the rush of emotion I’ll feel pulling that sweater over.”
Pasichnuk, who turned 18 just three days ago on the 24th of November, says it’s surreal to be invited to the camp. “It’s unbelievable! Last year, when I came into the [league] I never dreamed anything like this could happen.”
I’ve been overwhelmed with joy – Brinson Pasichnuk #29 Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs
Pasichnuk says he was honoured to receive the call from Tim Fragle, coach of the World Jr A Challenge Canada West team. The coach expressed his eagerness to meet the Bonnyville native, “he said he was really looking forward to working with me.”
The camp opens in Leduc, AB December 5th. Pasichnuk says he’ll be focusing on his game, “just play my game and do what I do best. Create offense, but focus on defense, as well.”
Coming out of the selection camp will be the best of Western Canadian Junior A hockey player and will represent at the World Junior A Challenge in Cobourg and Whitby, ON, December 13-19. The elite tournament will welcome NHL team scouts, many players who’ve battled it at the Challenge have gone on to play in the big leagues; including Nail Yakupov (Edmonton Oilers) and Bonnyville’s Justin Fountaine (Minnesota Wild).
Bonnyville has put in a bid package to host the 2016 tournament. The Town has made it through the first round of the bid process and is awaiting word on whether or not the tournament will be at the Centennial Centre next year.