Bowen Byram and Peyton Krebs are once again sharing headlines in Cranbrook.
The defenceman from town and the star centre for the Kootenay Ice have been linked since going first and third overall in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. This week, they found themselves both invited to Hockey Canada’s 2018 Summer U-18 selection camp.
— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) June 26, 2018
— Kootenay ICE (@WHLKootenayICE) June 26, 2018
Being held from July 28 to August 1 in Calgary, Alberta, the camp is meant to determine the roster for the newly renamed Hlinka Gretzky Cup. The historic event, which is not sanctioned by the IIHF with their own U-18 event taking place eight months later, will be returning to Canada for the first time in 22 years in August.
The Hlinka tournament has only been held in Canada once, in 1996 when Nelson and Castlegar co-hosted and the 2019 edition will be shared by Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. Started in 1991, Canada has won the tournament 21 times including last year.
Byram and Krebs are not strangers to representing their nation. The two were teammates with Canada Red at the 2017 U-17 World Hockey Challenge in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, capturing a silver medal together. More recently, both were invited to the World U-18 Championship training camp in April as underagers. Byram made the final roster, helping Canada finish fifth in Russia, while Krebs was cut just before the tournament began.
Eligible for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, this upcoming year is very significant for Byram and Krebs. Both players have been mentioned by several news outlets as being potential top ten picks and could benefit from strong showings on the international stage.
Krebs led the WHL in rookie scoring last year, with 54 points in 67 games, while Byram was the Western Conference’s Rookie of the Year after putting up 27 points in 60 games from the blueline with the Vancouver Giants.
The Canadian selection camp includes a total of 14 players from the WHL. The Hlinka Gretzky Cup is scheduled to run from July 28 to August 1.