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Cougars Prospects Invited to U17 Evaluation Camps

There’s a very good chance that the Prince George Cougars will send either a roster player or Midget AAA prospect to the World Under-17 Challenge for a third year in a row.  This week, Hockey Alberta announced the 46 players that were invited to attend its U-17 Male Provincial Camp in Camrose from July 6-11 and six of those players are property of the Cougars.  11 players will be selected from the U-17 camp to represent Alberta on Team Pacific at the 2011 World Under-17 Challenge in Winnipeg, Manitoba from December 28, 2010 – January 3, 2011.
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rThere are two Cougars prospects at each position going to the Alberta U-17 camp.  In goal, Devon Fordyce and Tyler Santos are among six netminders looking to impress the Team Pacific coaching staff.  Fordyce was a sixth round pick of the Cougars in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, taken 114th overall.  This past season, Fordyce played for the UFA Bisons of the Alberta Major Midget Hockey League, going 5-8-2 with a .857 save percentage and 4.33 goals against average.  But the Cochrane, Alberta product’s best performance of the year came at the inaugural Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup in Blackfalds, Alberta, backstopping his home province to a gold medal victory and being named to the tournament all-star team.
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rSantos, who hails from Sherwood Park, AB, was originally drafted by the Saskatoon Blades in the 10th round of the 2009 Bantam Draft.  The Cougars acquired Santos from the Blades at the January 10, 2010 trade deadline when the club dealt import forward Marek Viedensky to the Blades.  Santos played in 21 games for the Sherwood Park Kings of the AMHL, posting a 5-8-4 record and an 89.2% save percentage and 3.67 goals against average.
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rOn defence, the Cougars first and third picks in the ’09 draft are headed to the evaluation camp in Camrose in July.  Josh Smith, the bruising blueliner who played 10 games for the Cougars at the end of the 2009-10 season, got an invite.  Smith was chosen 19th overall by the Cats in the ’09 draft, and posted one assist and 21 penalty minutes while suiting up for Prince George.  For most of the year, the Lacombe, AB, native played in front of Fordyce on the UFA Bisons blue line, earning a goal and two assists in 25 games, while amassing 106 penalty minutes.
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rAlso getting an invite is Edmonton, Alberta rearguard Dane Phaneuf.  Phaneuf was taken 46th overall by the Cougars in 2009.  In his rookie season with the Southside Athletic Club in Edmonton, Phaneuf had 18 assists in 35 games, while also picking up 86 penalty minutes.  Phaneuf also played in one game for the Cougars on February 20 in Edmonton.  Phaneuf is the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs Captain Dion Phaneuf, who played for Team Pacific at the 2002 World U17 Challenge.
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rUp front, no surprise that Troy Bourke is among the forwards who will be looking to secure a spot with Team Pacific.  Bourke had a fantastic rookie year in the AMHL, finishing tops in goals with 27, power play goals with 13 and game winning goals with five, and finishing second in league scoring with 53 points for the St. Albert Raiders.  Bourke, from Onoway, AB, was the Cougars second pick, 26th overall in the ‘09 draft.  For is efforts with the Raiders, Bourke earned the Trevor Linden Award as the AMHL’s top forward.  Bourke made a splash with the Cougars late in the year as well, earning three goals in his first two games played at CN Centre March 9 and 10 against the Chilliwack Bruins. 
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rJoining Bourke up front among Cougars prospects in Peter Quenneville from Edmonton.  The Cougars took Quenneville in the fourth round, 69th overall in the ’09 Bantam Draft.  Quenneville produced 13 goals and 24 points for the Maple Leaf Athletic Club during this past season.  Quenneville and Bourke teamed up with Fordyce to help Team Alberta to the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup title, with both forwards scoring key goals late in the gold medal game against Manitoba.
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There is also a possibility of another Cougars prospect playing for Team West, as Corey Petrash is among 25 forwards who are taking part in Hockey Manitoba’s U17 Summer Evaluation Camp this weekend in Brandon.  Petrash, a listed player by the Cougars, had 15 goals and 30 points in 33 games for the Winnipeg Sharks in the Winnipeg AAA League.
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r"It’s very rewarding to see so many of our prospects receiving accolades at the provincial level," said Cougars Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel Wade Klippenstein.  “I believe it speaks volumes about the future of our hockey club."
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rThe Cougars have had a player at the World U17 Challenge the past two years.  Forward Brett Connolly helped Team Pacific to a silver medal in 2009 in Port Alberni, BC, leading Pacific in scoring with three goals and five assists in six games.  Defenceman Jesse Forsberg and forward Wilson Dumais both played for Team West at the 2010 event in Timmins, Ontario.  Dumais tied for the team lead with four goals and five points in five games.  Forsberg earned two assists in five games and eight penalty minutes.
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rPhoto: Josh Smith, one of six Cougars Prospects invited to Hockey Alberta’s U17 Development Camp, July 6-11 in Camrose.
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