Sylvan Lake native Tyler Steenbergen earned a big nod from Hockey Canada this week.
The 19-year-old goal-scoring machine, with 86 goals in his last 99 games in the WHL for the Swift Current Broncos, was named to the Team Canada World Junior Championship selection camp roster.
Steenbergen was named to the list Wednesday along with 32 other players and 18 forwards, but the WHL’s leading goal producer with 35 goals in 27 games is a virtual lock for the squad. Canada finished with silver last year in Toronto and Montreal after a 5-4 shootout loss in the final to the U.S.A.
The Broncos forward was selected by the Arizona Coyotes in the fifth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft after a 51-goal campaign last season that tied him for first in the WHL. Even with that standout season, Steenbergen wasn’t on the summer selection camp roster for Team Canada, and he is one of only four players to make the final camp that wasn’t invited in the summer.
“Hockey at all levels across the country continues to produce talented and elite-level hockey players that makes our evaluation and selection process a difficult one,” said Shawn Bullock, Hockey Canada’s senior manager of hockey operations and men’s national teams in a Hockey Canada press release.
“With a talent pool as deep as we have in this country, we believe the 22 players eventually selected from camp will give us the best chance at bringing home a gold medal. We couldn’t be more excited for our staff and players to get together in St. Catharines and begin the journey.”
The former Red Deer Minor Hockey product is one of 13 WHL players invited to the selection camp that will take place in St. Catharines, Ont., from Dec. 13 to 15 with three exhibition games. Canada will face the U Sport All-Star team for two games Dec. 13 and 14, before taking on Denmark Dec. 15. Following the selection camp, Canada will pick the final group of 22 players.
Former Rebel defenceman Josh Mahura also got the call for the selection camp, he has eight goals and 15 assists in 25 games this season with the Regina Pats.