Vernon Vipers Head Scout & Assistant Coach Kevin Pedersen helped guide the BC Junior Canucks to the 2016 27th Annual Brick Invitational championship July 11th in Edmonton Alberta. Pedersen also helped guide the U15 Penguins to the 2016 Male U15 Provincial Tournament with a victory over the Wild in the championship game May 8th 2016 in Richmond, BC.
The Brick Invitational hockey Tournament website:
This is posted on the Hockey Now website:
BC Junior Canucks Win 2016 Brick Invitational Tournament
By Mike Beasley on July 15, 2016
Being persistent is always a good thing as this summer’s edition of the BC Junior Canucks will be quick to point out.
After eight unsuccessful attempts trying to be crowned the top team at The Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament, it all came together in 2016 for this group of nine- and 10-year-olds.
British Columbia’s last Brick championship was back in 2007, but now the drought is over.
The team, made up of players from Nanaimo to Victoria and Greater Vancouver through to West Kelowna, traveled to Edmonton, Alta. earlier this month to compete in what has become a summer tradition for many of the best Canadian and American players in this age group.
The 27th annual tournament was held at the world famous West Edmonton Mall from July 4 to 10, with fourteen squads from all over North America making the summer pilgrimage to compete in the prestigious event.
The list of Brick alumni that are currently playing in the NHL is incredible. The list starts with Washington Capitals D Karl Alzner, who played with Vancouver in the tournament, and runs through almost the entire alphabet before coming to a stop at Minnesota Wild F Jason Zucker, who attended the event as a member of Team California.
At this year’s event, the BC Junior Canucks blasted through their competition in the Wigston Conference, going undefeated in six games against Team Brick Alberta, Saskatchewan Jr. Pats, Toronto Bulldogs, Chicago Jr. Blackhawks, Team Pennsylvania and Detroit Red Wings.
The Styles Conference was made up of Team Minnesota, Boston Junior Bruins, Toronto Pro Hockey, Winnipeg Junior Jets, Montreal Ice Storm, Connecticut Junior Rangers and Team California.
With a an impressive 6-0 record, British Columbia was the only undefeated team in the opening round of the tournament, outshooting their opponents 31-6 to earn a berth in the semifinals.
From there, the Junior Canucks had to wait until the winner of a quarterfinal matchup between the Boston Junior Bruins (5-1) and Saskatchewan Jr. Pats (3-2) was determined. Boston came out on top with a 4-3 overtime victory to set up a semifinal showdown against British Columbia.
Junior Canucks forward Tomas Mrsic proved to be too much for the Junior Bruins, leading his team to a 5-2 win with a four-goal, five-point performance and a spot in the championship final. British Columbia G Jesse Sanche had a quiet but effective game, stopping nine of 11 Boston shots.
In the other semifinal game, Team Minnesota (5-1) locked horns with the Toronto Bulldogs (4-2). The Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals after winning an all-Toronto quarterfinal game with a 6-0 shutout over Pro Hockey. Team Minnesota went on to win 3-1 against the Bulldogs to set up the final two combatants in a classic Canada (British Columbia) versus United States (Minnesota) showdown.
So the stage was set with the Junior Canucks and Team Minnesota facing off for all the marbles on Sunday, July 10 on the ice at the West Edmonton Mall.
With an announced crowd of 500 cheering parents, siblings, friends, relatives and hockey fans encouraging the teams on, the Junior Canucks emerged as the victors with a convincing 5-2 win.
British Columbia’s Tomas Mrsic was named the game’s first star with a three-goal performance. He scored the game-winning goal, an insurance marker, along with the team’s first empty-net goal. Carson Wetsch and Macklin Celebrini had the other Junior Canucks markers.
After finishing the six-game round-robin with 1-7-8 points, Mrsic really turned up his offensive output in the playoffs with 7-1-8 points in just two contests. Teammate Jordan Gavin followed Mrsic in playoff scoring with one goal and four points. In the round robin, Gavin led the Junior Canucks with 5-4-9 points. Wetsch chipped in with 4-4-8 points in his six preliminary round games.
Goalie Massimo Urbani was solid between the Junior Canucks pipes, stopping 21 of 22 Minnesota shots. The Junior Canucks goaltending tandem of Urbani and Sanche combined for a perfect 8-0 record during the tournament.
The 2016 win marks the fourth time British Columbia has won the Brick tournament. They also won in 2007, 2000 and 1997.
With the win, the Junior Canucks put an end to a six-year championship run by a Toronto team. The Toronto Bulldogs were crowned champion in 2015, 2013, 2012 and 2011. In 2014 and 2010, Toronto Pro Hockey took home the hardware.