Head Coach of the Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs, Rick Swan, has once again been invited to be a part of the World Jr A Challenge. This year, the coach will travel to Truro, Nova Scotia and take to the bench, as an assistant coach to Team Canada West. The coach says he’s looking forward to the challenge and will be part of the team selection process in the coming weeks.
“We scout our own leagues, but central scouting in the NHL also plays a major role in terms of players that they want there,” Swan explains the World Jr A Challenge plays an integral role in the future of these young players. “The NHL has a A and B list for everybody that they’re watching and then they also have a preliminary list. Those players on the preliminary list are the players they recommend go to the Team Canada East and West camps. Then us. as coaches go to different showcases.” Swan attended the BCHL showcase, Head Coach of Team Canada West, Mike Reagan, attended the AJHL showcase and the Director of Player Personnel, Kevin Saurette, attended the SJHL. “We’re covering each league, so we have a good input. At the end of the day, we take that big number and pick a 60 man list.”
From the Bonnyville Pontiacs, Isaac Saniga has been recommended, confirms Swan, “not only recommended by the NHL Central Scouting, but I get to see him every day. If I’m going to war, it’s with a guy like Isaac Saniga.” The 60 man list of which players will be selected to attend the camp will be decided this week.
The Bid for the 2017 WJAC
Bonnyville has confirmed they will be going after the WJAC and if successful in their bid, bringing the tournament back to town in 2018. The community hosted the event in 2016, to much success and praise. Swan says it would be a privilege to host the tournament again, “I thought I died and went to heaven, to be able to be involved on the world stage, in my hometown, and share it with the fans of Bonnyville a year ago. Then for me to get all the accolades about the Town of Bonnyville, the fans, the volunteers and the tournament we hosted was said to be second to none.”
Hockey Canada recognizing the tournament as successful was another feather on the coach’s cap, “for Hockey Canada to say we need to get back to Bonnyville, wow. It’s a humbling experience and I’m proud to be a part of it.” It goes to show the community spirit that lives in Bonnyville, “good on Bonnyville and good on the fans, the people and the volunteers; they’re second to none and I see it everyday.”