Nielsen named to World Under-17 Hockey Challenge roster

Fort St. John’s own Tristen Nielsen is about to get his second shot at international competition.

The five-foot-nine, 182 pound forward, who spent most of this season with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen was named to Canada’s World Under-17 Hockey Challenge roster on Wednesday.

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Nielsen was named one of Canada’s 66 best 2000 born players that will be split up into three teams for the best-on-best tournament set to take place in Sault St. Marie, Ont. this month.

Team Canada Red, Black and White should be named next week.

111 players participated in a seven-day development camp in July and from there, the final 66 players were chosen.

“These are the 66 best players in the country who are, by-and-large, making their first appearance in international competition as part of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. They have been selected not only based on their current ability, but also on their potential to represent Canada at under-18 and junior competition in the coming years,” said Shawn Bullock, senior manager of hockey operations and men’s national teams for Hockey Canada in a press release.

“This is a skilled group of high-performers with long-term international potential, and we look forward to working with them at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and in the future.”

Joe Veleno, of Kirkland, Quebec, is the only player who played in the 2016 World U17 Hockey Challenge in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek. 

Nielsen’s last opportunity on the international scene came in the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, last Feb. when Canada took home silver after a 5-2 loss in the final against the U.S.A.  Nielsen had one point in five games at the tournament. 14 of Nielsen’s teammates at that event were also named to the U17 roster on Wednesday.

In four WHL games this season with the Calgary Hitmen, Nielsen has one assist.

Exhibition action for the tournament begins Oct. 27, with the official puck drop set for Oct. 30.

More to come.

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