Luka Burzan in a Moose Jaw Warriors jersey. (file photo)

Surrey’s Burzan to play for Team Canada at Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup hockey tourney

Guildford-raised forward will fly to Czech Republic and Slovakia

* This story has been updated

One of Surrey’s best young hockey players will be on Team Canada at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

Forward Luka Burzan has been named to the team’s 22-man roster for action that starts Monday (Aug. 7) in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Bratislava, Slovakia.

Hockey Canada announced the roster on Tuesday, following the organization’s five-day National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team selection camp, held in Calgary.

All players on the Brent Kisio-coached squad are born in 2000.

“Being picked for the team is a great feeling, and I’m pretty excited to get over to the Czech Republic and represent Canada,” Burzan said in a phone interview from Calgary on Wednesday.

“Selection camp was a great experience, just getting to show what you’ve got with all the best players here,” he added. “I thought I had a great camp and showed what I could to make the team and prove that I could represent Canada at this tournament.”

Burzan, 17, a Guildford-area resident who plays for the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, last wore Team Canada colours during the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, held last November. He and fellow Surreyite Tyler Popowich scored silver medals at the tournament.

Earlier in 2016, Burzan left the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget League for a couple of weeks to play for Canada at the Youth Olympic Winter Games. In Norway, the squad lost 5-2 to the U.S. in the final to earn the silver medal.

READ MORE: Luka Burzan, Surrey’s rookie Warrior, likes life in Moose Jaw, returns ‘home’ Friday, from January 2017

Burzan, who is NHL draft-eligible next spring, said the overseas experience this week should give him a “mid-season feeling” when he starts training camp with the WHL Warriors later this month.

“My goal is to go in the first round (of the NHL draft) and show what I can do this coming season, for sure,” Burzan said. “Hopefully I can reach that goal.”

As a rookie, Burzan scored 14 times and added 13 assists for the Warriors last season, in 66 games played.

Team Canada has won gold 20 times in 25 years of summer under-18 competition, and will play in Group B this year with Finland, Russia and Slovakia; Group A consists of the Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.

The Canadians will face the Czech Republic in a pre-tournament game on Saturday (Aug. 5) in Breclav, and officially open the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup on Aug. 7 against Russia. The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals on Friday, Aug. 11, with the gold-medal game scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 12.

Kisio says he liked what he saw of the players at this week’s selection camp.

“As a best-on-best tournament, the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup allows us to showcase the very best Canadian talent in this age group,” he said. “We are ready to make Canadians proud with how we represent them on and off the ice.”

Email Tom Zillich

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