Kootenay Ice forward Peyton Krebs (left) and Bowen Byram (right) were named to the leadership group for Team Canada Red at the 2017 World U-17 Hockey Challenge.

Kootenay Ice forward Peyton Krebs (left) and Bowen Byram (right) were named to the leadership group for Team Canada Red at the 2017 World U-17 Hockey Challenge.

Krebs and Byram named to Team Canada Red leadership group at World U-17s

Ice rookie forward, locally raised defencemen serving as captain and alternate for national team

There are three separate teams representing Canada at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, B.C., but for Cranbrook fans, the choice of which group to support should be obvious.

The captains for Canada White, Red and Black were announced on Sunday and one team has a double-dose of local talent.

Team Canada Red will be captained by Kootenay Ice rookie phenom Peyton Krebs, with Cranbrook’s Bowen Byram serving as an alternate along with QMJHL prospect Xavier Simoneau.

Krebs, who is from Okotoks, Alberta and was the Ice’s first overall selection in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, has put up 19 points in 21 games in his WHL career so far and is tied for second in team scoring this season.

Byram, a locally developed player who went third overall in the same draft and was selected by the Vancouver Giants, is one of the league’s top rookie defencemen and has nine points in 15 games this season.

Although Canada Red lost their opening game of the tournament 4-2 to Finland on Sunday, Krebs scored a goal for his team.

In addition to Krebs, the captains of the two other Canadian teams are also representatives of the WHL. Braden Schneider of the Brandon Wheat Kings is wearing the ‘C’ for Team White, while Sasha Mutala of the Tri-City Americans will be the leader for Team Black.

Krebs, Byram and Canada Red continue their quest for a Gold medal on Monday at 7:00 p.m. as they take on Sweden, and then conclude the round robin on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. against Russia.

Krebs will return to the Ice following the tournament’s final matches on Saturday, November 11.

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