For the second consecutive year, North Stars defenceman Levi Kleiboer was invited to try out for Canada West at the upcoming World Junior A Challenge.
Last year, Kleiboer and teammates Cody Spagrud and Layne Young were all invited, but none made the final team.
Kleiboer is one of nine Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League invitees this year, and one of just three defenceman.
The eight other SJHL representatives are goaltender Jacob Wasserman from Humboldt, defenceman Tim Gould from Notre Dame, defenceman Josh McDougall from Nipawin, forward Chrystopher Collin from Flin Flon, forward Jared Hamm from Notre Dame, forward Ben Hiltz from Weyburn, forward Michael McChesney from Estevan, and forward Chantz Petruic from Yorkton.
There are a total of 60 players from the British Columbia Hockey League, Alberta Junior Hockey League, SJHL, Manitoba Junior Hockey League, and Superior International Junior Hockey League who will vie for a spot on Canada West, with 40 attending try-outs for Canada East from the other five Junior A leagues in the country.
Just six teams compete in the tournament: the two Canadian squads plus the United States, Russia, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.
Players invited must be under 20-years-old, so top 1997-born players (like Layne Young) do not get a call. Even 19-year-olds often have a tough time making the team, as just 15 of the 60 invitees (including Kleiboer) are born in 1998, with the rest being younger.
Flin Flon Bombers head coach Mike Reagan is taking on head coaching duties for Canada West this year, after serving as an assistant last year. Estevan bench boss Chris Lewgood and Kindersley head coach Geoff Grimwood will also attend as two of the six guest coaches.
The World Junior A Challenge will take place in Truro, Nova Scotia from Dec. 10 to 16.
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