The CIBC Canada/Russia Series will see many future NHL players take the ice.
One name, in particular, is Cranbrook’s own Bowen Byram who has made the Team WHL roster.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “To be a younger guy on the team is pretty cool too, to be recognized like that. I just have to go there and work hard, hopefully, I can play well.”
Byram is the lone non-drafted defenceman to make the roster but is ranked among the top 10 to go in the first round of the 2019 NHL draft.
The five defencemen Byram will join were all selected in the top three rounds of NHL drafts, which include Ty Smith, Josh Brook, and Jett Woo.
“There’s a lot of talent on that team so just to be able to be around them and learn from them will be good,” said Byram.
Byram said he hopes to bring a steady presence to the blueline of team WHL.
“I move the puck well. There’s a lot of good forwards on this team, so just give them the puck and let them do their thing,” he said.
Being picked for the team is a big achievement, and Byram said his stability was probably something that stood out.
“I’m just pretty steady. I move the puck well, jump into the play, and a bit of my work ethic too that got me into that position,” he said.
Currently playing for the Vancouver Giants, Byram has five goals and eight assists for 13 points on the year. He currently ranks in top 10 WHL defensive scoring and is tied for third in goals by WHL defenceman.
“The team has come off to a really good start. So, it’s been fun so far. We are a good team, hopefully, we can make a deep run into the playoffs this year,” said Byram.
No stranger to the big stage Byram has won gold at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, silver with Canada Red at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
“I think you just have to focus on working hard and playing your game,” he said about playing on these big stages.
“If you got selected to be there you’re there for a reason so if you do your thing you should be okay.”
The Canada/Russia series first began in 2003, as the CHL teams hoop to add to their winning record of 61-22-1-6.
“It’s always a question mark going into the game on the Russian roster, it’s a bunch of guys who have played in the KHL and what not. So, it should be interesting to see what their team is like. Hopefully, we can get two wins,” said Byram.
Team WHL will play Nov. 5 at Sandman Centre in Kamloops and then Nov. 6 at Langley Events Centre.