Two current NCAA players – Northeastern senior Dylan Sikura (Aurora, Ont./Aurora-OJHL/CHI) and Bemidji State sophomore Zach Whitecloud (Brandon, Man./Virden-MJHL) – will represent Canada at the Karjala Cup next month, an international event that Hockey Canada will use to evaluate candidates for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Sikura and Whitecloud wil be joined by 10 former NCAA players on the Canada roster who are currently playing professionally in Europe. The Karjala Cup is a six-nation tournament held in Helsinki, Finland, from Nov. 8-12.
Sikura leads the nation in scoring with 12 points through five games this season after posting 57 points in 38 games as a junior. The Blackhawks draft pick was a second-team All-Hockey East selection last season and ranks second among active NCAA players with 104 career points.
Whitecloud has three assists in four games this season for the Beavers. Last year he earned WCHA All-Rookie Team honors after leading the team’s defensemen in scoring with 17 points in 41 games. He is undrafted and reportedly a top free agent target for NHL teams.
Sikura and Whitecloud will each miss two NCAA games during the Karjala Cup.
“We’re thrilled that Dylan has the chance to compete with Team Canada,” Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said. “He’s worked incredibly hard over the last several years to develop into one of the top all-around players in college hockey, and to see him earn this opportunity is a testament to the effort he’s put in on and off the ice. Obviously we’ll miss Dylan’s presence while he’s away, but as a program we couldn't be more excited for him.”
The 12 players with NCAA ties on the Canada roster represent 11 programs; only North Dakota, with Matt Frattin and Chay Genoway, has multiple representatives.
Seven of the NCAA alumni named to the team also represented Canada in international tournaments in August: Andrew Ebbett, Genoway, Geoff Kinrade, Mason Raymond, Mat Robinson, Ben Scrivens and Karl Stollery.
|Team Canada NCAA Players & Alumni|
|Player||Pos.||Current Team||NCAA Team|
|Mason Raymond||F||SC Bern (NLA)||Minnesota Duluth|
|Rene Bourque||F||Djurgardens IF (SHL)||Wisconsin|
|Dylan Sikura||F||Northeastern (HEA)||Northeastern|
|Andrew Ebbett||F||SC Bern (NLA)||Michigan|
|Matt Frattin||F||Barys Astana (KHL)||North Dakota|
|Karl Stollery||D||Dinamo Riga (KHL)||Merrimack|
|Zach Whitecloud||D||Bemidji State (WCHA)||Bemidji State|
|Chay Genoway||D||Lada Togliatti (KHL)||North Dakota|
|Chris Lee||D||Hockey Canada||SUNY-Potsdam|
|Geoff Kinrade||D||Kunlun Red Star (KHL)||Michigan Tech|
|Mat Robinson||D||CSKA Moscow (KHL)||Alaska Anchorage|
|Ben Scrivens||G||Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)||Cornell|