CALGARY, Alta. – Michael Bianconi, Owen Power and Evan Vierling were three players with Firebirds’ ties that competed in Canada’s national under-17 development camp July 21-27 at the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
Of the 111 skaters, both defenseman Bianconi and forward Vierling finished tied for seventh among all players, averaging a point-per-game. Vierling recorded two goals and one assist in three games while Bianconi scored once and added two assists. One of Vierling’s goals came while on the power-play. Power played impressive defensively throughout the camp and recorded one point including two penalty minutes also in three games.
The three skaters were drafted in the first three rounds by Flint in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection: Vierling (1st round, 2nd overall), Power (2nd round, 22nd overall) and Bianconi (3rd round, 48th overall).
For the duration of the week-long camp, the players – 12 goaltenders, 36 defensemen, and 63 forwards – were split into six teams for on- and off-ice training, fitness testing, practices, intrasquad games, and classroom sessions.
“The national under-17 development camp provides a unique opportunity for players to learn about what it takes to be part of Team Canada alongside the best young talent in the country,” said Shawn Bullock, Hockey Canada’s senior manager of hockey operations and men’s national teams. “The players are here with the ultimate goal of wearing the Team Canada jersey in international competition, and we are supporting them in that goal by providing the on- and off-ice experiences they need to develop and grow as high-performance athletes.”
Following the development camp, the players will continue to be evaluated through the early season before 66 are named to one of three Canadian national teams – Team Canada Black, Team Canada Red, and Team Canada White – who will compete at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge scheduled for Nov. 3-10 in Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B.
Current Firebirds’ Luke Cavallin and Ethan Keppen were invited last year and Dennis Busby, Ty Dellandrea, Hunter Holmes and Jack Wismer were invites two years ago.
Next up on the international level, Flint Firebirds’ forward Ty Dellandrea is competing at the Sport Chek World Junior Showcase in Kamloops, B.C., July 28-Aug. 4. The eight-day Sport Chek World Junior Showcase is the first step for nation’s top junior players to make the final roster for the prestigious World Junior Championship this Dec. 26, 2018 – Jan. 5, 2019 in Vancouver, B.C.
Additionally, Firebirds’ goaltender Luke Cavallin and forward Ethan Keppen are competing at Canada’s National Under-18 Team Selection Camp July 30, 2018 – Aug. 1, 2018 for a chance to represent Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta Aug. 6, 2018 – Aug. 11, 2018. Firebirds’ Head Coach Ryan Oulahen will be behind the bench as an assistant coach for Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Both the World Junior Showcase and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup will be internationally televised on TSN in Canada and the NHL Network in the United States.
Photo Credit: Matt Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images
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