A Chilliwack Chief will represent the United States at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, a showcase tournament for top U18 ice hockey talent.
A.J. Lacroix, who is a dual American-Canadian citizen, will travel to Red Deer, AB., for the eight-team event which runs July 31 to Aug. 6.
The 17-year-old’s crew will play in group B, which includes Czechia, Finland and Germany. Their opening game is July 31 vs Germany. The other side of the tourney (group A) includes Canada, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland.
The United States last won this tournament in 2003, the only time the U-S has captured top spot.
Lacroix notched 40 points last season as a 16-year-old rookie for the Chiefs, good enough for fifth in team scoring. His 21 goals were third most on the team.
There is a chance he’ll face off against a BCHL rival if the United States meets up with Canada in the semi-final or final. Victoria Grizzlies star Matthew Wood is on the Canadian roster after leading the entire BCHL in scoring last season with 85 points in 46 games.
The University of Connecticut commit was an easy choice as the league’s Rookie of the Year and was a finalist for Most Valuable Player. Wood played in the 2022 IIHF World U18 Championship last April, collecting two goals in four games.
Canada is a heavy favourite at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, having won gold 22 times in 30 years.
For more info, see hlinkagretzkycup.ca/en-ca