Canada Eyes NCAA Talent
Sikura, Whitecloud participating in pre-Olympic tournament next month.

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Bemidji State sophomore Zach Whitecloud was a WCHA All-Rookie Team selection in 2016-17 (Photo by BSU Photo Services).

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