Two of the biggest rivals in western Canada have joined forces to host the Can/Am SuperSeries98 which will take place from September 14-16 in Burnaby and North Vancouver. The tournament will feature four teams from Canada and four teams from the western USA. Joining NSWC and BWC will be OHA and POE. While the western USA will be represented by the Dallas Stars Elite, San Jose Jr. Sharks, LA Jr. Kings and the Anaheim Jr. Ducks.
The best bet to make it the furthest in the USA Conference has to be either the Dallas Stars Elite or the LA Jr. Kings. The Jr. Kings have merged with the LA Selects and should field a very competitive squad led by the likes of F- Dylan Strahan, who comes over from Dallas, D - Connor Nobach and D - Sean Cullinane. The Stars Elite will be led by one of the better defenseman in the United States from the 98 age group while the Jr. Sharks and Jr. Ducks will have to rely on a pair of talented goalies.
San Jose Jr. Sharks
Much of the Jr. Sharks success will come from the play of goaltender Jake Acton. He was tremendous at a Labour Day tournament a couple weekends ago in holding his team in many games. In four games, he posted a tournament leading 1.25 GAA and a .940%. The Sharks are a bit offensively challenged but will look to Brendan Tydingco, Nick Cefalu and Mischa Subotin.
Kingpin: G - Jake Acton
Anaheim Jr. Ducks
A similar team to the Sharks in that they are led by the other top goalie in California in Matt Nieto. Nieto was one of two goalies, along with Acton to be named to the Multi-District camp in Colorado this summer. Up front, look for fellow CAHA Select Camp players Jack Sitzman, Declan Curtis and Ryan Gil to lead the way.
Kingpin: G - Garrett Nieto
Dallas Stars Elite
A team that got better and better as the year went on last season will also add F - Hank Crone who play up an age group last year. Crone is the offensive leader of a team who is pretty deep in all areas. Defenseman Max Gildon could prove to be one of the better defenseman in the tournament. Gildon is regarded as one of the top defenseman in his age group in the states.
Kingpin: D - Max Gildon
LA Jr. Kings
It is pretty scary to imagine just how good this team would've been if Patrick Khodorenko didn't leave for Honeybaked or if Ben Lown didn't move to Shattucks. However, this team is loaded at nearly every position with the lone question mark in goal. The team will be led defensively by Cameron Judge, Sean Cullinane and Justin Driffill who were all selected to the District Camp this summer. Connor Nobach comes over from Washington State and will be a factor. Up front, Jason Kong, Jared Christy, Dylan Strahan and Kailer Yamamoto.
Kingpin: D - Sean Cullinane
The Canadian Conference is represented by four of the top ten teams in the WEHP pre-season western Canada rankings. The situation with the Canadian teams is a bit different with most squads still carrying a few extra players who are on the bubble and are likely to see some game action. BWC will be led by the top defense in western Canada but they are without Owen Seidel who is out 4-6 weeks with a broken wrist while Jaeger White remains on the mend. NSWC will look to Dante Hannoun and a trio of top defenseman to led the way. OHA returns three of their high scoring forwards but sport a brand new defense this year which does have a few questions marks. POE return key forwards as well and a rebuilt defense core.
Burnaby Winter Club Bruins
The #1 ranked team in western Canada entering the season has virtually no holes on the roster. The club has one of the top ranked 98 born goalies in Tyler Shugrue. The true strength of the team though is its defense led by consensus top 5 overall ranked Dante Fabbro, potential first rounder - Matt Barberis and talented Cameron Ginnetti. Up front, the team will be without two of there top 5 forwards in White and Seidel but Jake Kryski looks like the real deal this year as a potential high pick, while Ky Uy and Kennessary Kylyshbeck should add some offence for the time being.
Kingpin: D - Dante Fabbro
North Shore Winter Club Winterhawks
NSWC are led up front by Dante Hannoun and Tak Anholt this season. Expect much of the offence to go through the talented forwards. Contributions will also be expected from Quinn Benjefield who had a great spring hockey season as well as rookie '99 born Jordy Bellerive, who is currently the WEHP #1 rated '99 born player. Defensively the team looks strong led by Ryan Pouliot, Marcus Kwan and Clint Colebourne. Some questions will need to be answered in goal, so perhaps the SuperSeries will sort that out.
Kingpin: F - Dante Hannoun
Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy
POE will take on a much different look this season. Last year they were a very defensive orientated team where much of the offence came through the defense. This year, they will look to some talented forwards such as; Trevor Ayre, Tyson Jost and Kody Mcdonald. Marcus Mitchell and Zack Andrusiak add even more scoring as they come up from the T2 team this year. Defensively, look for big Noah Turanski, Ralph Jarrett and Garrett Atkins to lead the way.
Kingpin: F - Tyson Jost
Okanagan Hockey Academy
Much of the OHA offence last year went through 93 goal man Brad Morrison but this year they will look to a trio of returnee's in Davis Koch, Taylor Ward and Beck Malentsyn to carry the mail. The team also gets a boost with the addition of Ryan Bowen from chilliwack up front. The goaltending reigns are now in the hands of capable Brody Wilms. Defensively, look for Sahvan Khaira and Darren Rizzolo to be the main cogs.
Kingpin: F - Beck Malentsyn