The Fort Saskatchewan Bantam AAA Rangers are taking on western Canada's best.
After winning the provincial championship, which was last done in 1988, the Bantam AAA Rangers will be taking their talents to Saskatchewan. The Western Canadian Bantam AAA Championship goes from March 30 to April 8 at the Legends Centre in Warman.
"The guys are excited and looking forward to the opportunity," said head coach Nick Trudeau. "For us as a team we're just trying to keep everybody relaxed and rested to ensure we bring our top game."
Trudeau added that they've seen some of these teams before, so they're preparing accordingly.
The Rangers first game will be Thursday (Mar 30) against Swift Current at noon; later that day, they face the host, the Sask Valley Vipers, at 5:00 p.m.
On Friday (Mar 31), Fort Sask faces arguably their toughest competition, the Burnaby Winter Club, and on Saturday (Apr 1), the Rangers take on the Winnipeg Monarchs.
A full schedule of the tournament can be found on the Western Canadian Bantam AAA Championship website.
Alberta: Fort Saskatchewan Rangers
Regular season record: 27-7-2
The Rangers got past the powerhouse St Albert Raiders and Lethbridge Goldenhawks en route to a provincial championship without having a single player crack the league's top 15 list for scoring. Alex Thacker led the team with 23 goals and 34 assists (57 points). Thacker was followed by Noah Boyko and Raphael Pelletier with 52 points. Watch for Sebastien Cossa, he was the league MVP and top ranked goalie for the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, putting on some amazing performances throughout playoffs.
Host: Sask Valley Vipers
Regular season record: 18-8-4
The Sask Valley Vipers were swept in the league finals by the Swift Current Broncos. Josh Pillar put up 54 points in 25 regular season games and 10 goals with nine assists in 10 playoff games.
Saskatchewan: Swift Current Broncos
Regular season record: 19-4-7
The Broncos averaged more than five goals per game this season, but had over half scored by three players. Reed Jacobson had 39 goals and 31 assists, Riley DeKowny had 31 goals plus 25 assists and Hayden Wilm had 36 points. Watch for Keagon Little who proved to be a playoff performer for the Broncos as he finished tied for the team lead with 14 points in 10 games.
Manitoba: Winnipeg Monarchs
Regular season record: 28-5-1
The Monarchs finished first place in their league and went 8-0-0 in a pair of playoff sweeps, before beating Pembina Valley in the provincial final. Reese Belton led the team with 30 goals and Braden Fischer had a team leading 57 points. Watch for goaltenders Fraser Senebald and Brett Murphy, they combined for 12 shut-outs this season.
British Columba: Burnaby Winter Club Bruins
Regular season record: 27-0-1
The Bruins rolled through their league this season only allowing 36 goals total. Watch for Ryan Helliwell, he's one of the highest ranked defenders entering the draft and has verbally commitment to the University of Notre Dame for 2020-2021.