Red Deer Rebels defenceman Kyle Masters joined an exclusive club this week.
The 17-year-old blueliner from Edmonton was among 46 players invited to the Hockey Canada U18 selection camp. The camp was supposed to be in preparation for the 2020 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, which was slated to happen later this summer in Red Deer and Edmonton. That event was cancelled as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a difficult decision to cancel the tournament, as it provides the opportunity to showcase the top under-18 players in a best-on-best international showcase,” said Scott Salmond, senior vice-president of national teams for Hockey Canada.
“We want to recognize the 46 players and our three coaches for this tremendous accomplishment, and we look forward to watching all players continue to develop as they look ahead to next season and a chance to compete at the IIHF U18 World Championship.”
Masters had a difficult rookie campaign with the Rebels, suffering a nasty lower body at the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge in November, which forced him to miss almost three months of the WHL season.
After the trade of veteran defenceman Dawson Barteaux, Masters was thrust into big minutes for the final 14 games of the season. He’s expected to be a big part of the Rebels group in 2020-21. The five-foot-11, 159-pound defenceman was originally a first-round, 16th overall pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft.
The next big event for this age group is the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championships next spring, with a host city yet to be announced.