Canada East Selects showcases the best that Quebec has to offer at World Selects Invitational
First debuting on the international scene in 2017, the Canada East Selects have represented the top youth hockey players in Quebec at the World Selects Invitational four times across three different age groups. This spring, the world will once again be challenged by the best that French Canada has to offer when C.E.S. competes at the 12U and 14U WSI events in Bolzano as well as the 13U event in Mont Blanc.
It’s an international stage. The best players from hockey hotbeds across Canada like Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. Top American prospects from the likes of New England, Detroit and Chicago. Elite talents from across Europe representing Sweden, Finland, Czechs, Russians and more. Insert Quebec and its top prospects to the mix to round out every corner of the hockey community worldwide.
“The idea that they will play different countries, right away, they light up when you mention you’re going to play Russia, Latvia, Sweden,” said Canada East Selects program director Dave Harroch. “It’s a great measuring stick. We measure ourselves locally; to North America. Now, we can measure ourselves to the world.”
In the program’s short history, Canada East has fared well at the WSI. In its tournament debut, the ‘05 squad went 2-2-1 in pool play, qualifying as the No. 9 seed in the playoffs. There, they upset 8-seeded Midwest Selects and nearly pulled off another upset of top-seeded ProKhorkins Selects, giving up a goal in the final seconds of overtime to fall 4-3. Two years later, the ‘07 squad qualified for the playoffs as the No. 5 seed and made a run all the way to the championship with upsets over the No. 4 and No. 1 seeds along the way.
“One of the things that stands out the most, is how the groups become close,” said Harroch. “These people stay friends for a long time after. People who didn’t know each other before the tournament, stick together to this day as friends. Parents do appreciate it.”
Teams are assembled primarily through an extensive recruiting process that stems from the Montreal Meltdown. The annual tournament has created a footprint in the youth hockey landscape that has lasted more than 30 years. Top spring and summer teams from 10 different age groups compete across three different skill levels at an event that spans over six weekends in Montreal. This provides the perfect platform for C.E.S. scouts and evaluators to get eyes on prospective players for WSI tournament teams.
Who has qualified for these tournament teams in the past, you ask? How about the likes of current QMJHL prospects like Etienne Morin, Marc-Olivier Beaudry, Natan Ethier, Bradley Nadeau, Sam Luca Thifault and Kyle Hagen. Forward Mathieu Cataford took the ice for Canada East in 2017 before representing Team Canada last month at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Tournament teams are typically made up of top players from Montreal and Quebec, but have pulled from across the entire province, with additional prospects as far west as Ottawa and as far east as New Brunswick.
Canada East Selects is one of seven North American organizations to receive franchise status in the World Selects tournaments — meaning they receive an automatic bid to elite events each year. For more information on Canada East Selects and how to get involved with their programming, click HERE.