A young hockey star from Mission will representing the BC Junior Canucks against the top 10-year-old players in North America this Summer.
Nine-year-old Killian Wall is one of six defencemen in B.C. to make the cut for the provincial team playing in the Brick Invitational Tournament (BIT).
He’s been playing hockey since the age of four, one year ahead of his age group, said Stephen, his father.
“As soon as he started walking, he was carrying a stick and shooting a ball around the house.” Stephen said. “Hockey was something that came very naturally as soon as he started playing.”
The 32nd annual BIT will pit the most elite 225 players on 14 provincial and U.S. teams in competition with each other at the Ice Palace at West Edmonton Mall in July.
The prestigious tournament has a reputation for producing future NHLers such as Jordan Eberle, Johnny Gaudreau, Auston Matthews and Steven Stamkos.
Selecting and developing the teams starts months in advance.
For the BC Junior Canucks, about 100 kids attended an invite-only tryout after being scouted during their regular seasons, Stephen said.
Only 15 players and two goalies make the cut.
“It’s a pretty big honour,” Stephen said. “It’s something that you could only dream of. For him to be in this position, to be given this opportunity, and to be playing at this level, at this age, it’s pretty exciting.”
His weekends – all day Saturday and Sunday – are spent either training with his new team, or playing exhibition tournaments in preparation for the BIT.
This weekend they fly to Toronto to play their first exhibition tournament against other BIT teams; in June, they fly to Winnipeg to play another.
The final tournament takes place over six days, from July 4 to 10. Another age group of 11-year-olds will also be playing following the COVID-cancelled games last year.
Killian lives in Mission, but has been playing in the High Performance League for the last two seasons – where the top 48 Lower Mainland players on four teams compete.
Heading into the BIT, Killian said he feels good, adding that making the team “came as a big surprise.”
He said his favorite player is Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche, and he plans to make it to the NHL himself one day.