Winkler Flyers Assistant Captain Lawson McDonald has been invited to try out for Team Canada – West for the upcoming World Junior A Challenge, taking place December 13th to 19th in Cobourg and Whitby, Ontario.

The 18 year old Rosetown, Manitoba native sits in the top five in scoring among all Manitoba Junior Hockey League defensemen with 20 points (2 goals – 18 assists) in 24 games played. He was named an Assistant Captain this season, which is his third year with the Orange and Black.

The 2015 tournament will be the 10th edition of the World Junior A Challenge, and will mark the first time the event will be held in Ontario.

The 2015 World Junior A Challenge will follow the same format as previous years – two Canadian entries will be joined by four international teams, with two groups of three teams. The group winners will receive a bye to the semifinals, while the second-place and third-place teams will crossover for the quarter-finals.

The 2015 World Junior A Challenge will be based out of the Cobourg Community Centre, home of the OJHL’s Cobourg Cougars, and Iroquois Park Arena, home of the OJHL’s Whitby Fury.

“The World Junior A Challenge has grown to be one of the highlights of the international hockey calendar for players, fans and scouts, and as it reaches an important milestone in its 10th year, we’re excited to be taking the tournament to Ontario for the first time,” said Tom Renney, president and CEO of Hockey Canada. “The host committee has shown its passion to bring the event to Cobourg and Whitby, and we’re confident it, and the hockey-mad fans in southern Ontario, will make the 2015 World Junior A Challenge one to remember.”

“The CJHL continues to build its brand across Canada through elite events showcasing our players such as the World Junior A Challenge,” said Kirk Lamb, president and chairman of the CJHL. “This is the first time that the World Junior A Challenge will be hosted in Ontario and by the OJHL and we are very excited to award this world class international junior hockey event to the great communities of Cobourg and Whitby.”

“The entire Cobourg Cougars Junior A Hockey Club and the Town of Cobourg are very honoured to have been selected as co-host for the 2015 World Junior A Challenge,” said Ashley Haynes, Cobourg chair. “I am very excited to work with the amazing team of people that we have assembled to act as the Cobourg organizing committee. We look forward to working with the Whitby Fury and our governing partners to bring international junior hockey to all supporters of the OJHL.”

“We are thrilled to be one of the co-hosts for the 2015 World Junior A Challenge,” said Mark Vinintz, Whitby chair. “Partnering with such a strong OJHL franchise such as the Cobourg Cougars and our governing partners, we are excited to bring this world class international junior hockey event to Ontario and the fans of the OJHL.”

Since the first World Junior A Challenge in 2006, more than 230 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including 32 first-round selections (Beau Bennett, Brock Boeser, Alexander Burmistrov, Joe Colborne, Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers, Nikita Filatov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Denis Guryanov, Dmitri Kulikov, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Elias Lindholm, Hampus Lindholm, John Moore, Vladislav Namestnikov, Riley Nash, Valeri Nichushkin, Dylan Olsen, David Pastrnak, Ilya Samsonov, Jordan Schmaltz, Nick Schmaltz, Jaden Schwartz, Brendan Smith, Evgeny Svechnikov, Vladimir Tarasenko, Kyle Turris, Alexander Wennberg, Andrei Vasilevski, Jakub Vrana, Nail Yakupov and Jakub Zboril).

Seven of the nine gold medal games at the World Junior A Challenge have featured at least one Canadian team. Canada West won gold at the first two tournaments, in 2006 and 2007, before taking the top prize in 2011; it also earned silver in 2008, 2009 and 2012, and won bronze in 2013. Canada East was silver medallist in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011, and claimed bronze in 2008.

Cobourg and Whitby join Yorkton and Humboldt, Sask. (2006); Trail and Nelson, B.C. (2007); Camrose, Alta. (2008); Summerside, P.E.I. (2009); Penticton, B.C. (2010); Langley, B.C. (2011); Yarmouth, N.S. (2012, 2013); and Kindersley, Sask. (2014) as host cities for the World Junior A Challenge.

The tryout for Team Canada – West will take place in Leduc, Alberta from December 5th to the 8th. Former Flyers’ defenseman Tanner Jago and current Flyers’ Forward Tristan Keck were invited to the Team Canada – West tryout in the past.

The Flyers would like to wish Lawson all the best and congratulate him on his invitation.

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