On Thursday, Hockey Canada announced its invitees to the now-cancelled 2020 National U-18 Summer Camp. Manitobans made up three of the 46 names on the roster, with goaltender Tyler Brennan (Prince George Cougars), defenceman Carson Lambos (Winnipeg ICE) and forward Conner Roulette (Seattle Thunderbirds) of the Western Hockey League receiving the invitation to the 2020 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup.
Although the show will not go on as originally scheduled for August 3-8, Hockey Canada wanted to ensure that those who were in consideration for invitation, were officially recognized for their contribution and success over the past season of play.
“It is important for Hockey Canada to recognize the work the players and coaching staff already put in to prepare for the summer and a chance to compete for gold on home ice,” said Hockey Canada senior Vice President of national teams Scott Salmond in a press release. “It was a difficult decision to cancel the tournament, as it provides the opportunity to showcase the top under-18 players in a best-on-best international showcase. We want to recognize the 46 players and our three coaches for this tremendous accomplishment, and we look forward to watching all players continue to develop as they look ahead to next season and a chance to compete at the IIHF U18 World Championship.”
Brennan – listed at 6-foot-3 and 192 pounds – is by far the largest of the six goaltenders offered invites to the summer camp, while also serving as the youngest. He will battle one netminder from BC, two from Ontario, and one from each of Quebec and Nova Scotia. After two seasons with RHA, the Winnipeg product went 4-6-1 in 15 appearances with the dismal Prince George Cougars.
Much like Brennan, Lambos is one of the bigger blueliners on the list at 6-foot-1, while tipping the scales at 200 pounds – the only member of the ‘200 club’. The former second overall WHL draft pick (2018) skated in his first full season of Western League play in 2019-20, putting up eight goals, 32 points and 32 penalty minutes for his hometown Winnipeg ICE. The former RHA star defenceman also registered five assists in six games with Canada White at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Roulette, 17, played his minor hockey as a part of the AAA Winnipeg Hawks and the Winnipeg Thrashers organizations. After tearing up both U14 and U15 with 90 goals and 172 combined points in 62 games for the Hawks, he moved on to the Thrashers, where he produced at over two points-per-game. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound forward spent 2019-20 with Seattle, scoring 19 times and adding another 20 assists in his first full season of WHL action.
Lambos and Roulette are eligible to be selected in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, while Brennan could hear his named called the following year. Despite all being 2003-born players, Lambos and Roulette have first-quarter birthdays, while Brennan missed the September 15 cutoff by a mere two weeks (September 27). However, should either Lambos or Roulette not be taken at next year’s draft, they would have another shot, alongside Brennan in 2022.