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Familiar Hockey Names Headline the World U17 Challenge

Former NHL greats’ sons climbing the ranks in the hockey world. Feel old yet?

Sweden won the 2016 World U17 Challenge Gold Medal
© Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images

The World U17 Hockey Challenge begins today in British Columbia. Eight teams represented by six countries will compete in the international tournament that showcases the next wave of talent in the world. Most of the players in the tournament are either eligible for the 2019 or 2020 NHL draft, and if that didn’t make you feel old already, some former NHLers’ sons are playing in the tournament as well. Canada will field three different teams; Canada Black, Canada White and Canada Red. Other countries making the trip to Western Canada are Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.

Last year’s World U17 Challenge ended with Sweden taking the Gold Medal by beating Canada Black 2-1. Russia took home the bronze medal by routing Canada White 6-1. The United States started out hot by winning their first two preliminary round games, but ended up losing in the quarterfinal matchup to Sweden, the eventual champions.

After looking through the rosters of all the teams, I found some familiar names that a lot of hockey fans will recognize. First up is Alexander Lundqvist. Some of you may have jumped to being related to King Henry the goaltender for the Rangers, but this young defenseman is the nephew of Hall of Fame Detroit Red Wing defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. Alexander Lundqvist is 6’2” and 174 lbs, and at age 16 he has plenty of time to grow. He is the youngest player for Leksands IF in the Swedish Super Elite junior league. I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear this name at the NHL draft in a couple years.

Team USA has some familiar last names on their roster, and one that will be especially recognizable for Wild fans. Former shootout-slap shot specialist Brian Rolston’s son Ryder Rolston is a forward on Team USA. He is 16 years old and currently playing for the U17 National Team Development Program. He will be a 2020 NHL draft prospect and is set to attend the University of Notre Dame for his freshman year in 2020-21. Another notable name on Team USA is Danny Weight, son of former NHL great, and current Head Coach or the New York Islanders. Doug Weight had over 1,000 points in the NHL and won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. His son Danny is a 2019 NHL draft prospect and is committed to play his college hockey for Boston College in 2019.

Wild fans will remember this next name as well. One of the most hated opponents the Wild used to face a lot more than they do now is the Vancouver Canucks. With the realignment of divisions, the Wild don’t face Vancouver as often, but when they did, one player always stood out. The always hated Todd Bertuzzi. Yes, believe it or not, Todd Bertuzzi has a son that’s climbing the ranks in the hockey world as well. Tag Bertuzzi is 16 year old prospect who will be eligible to be drafted in 2019. He is currently playing for the Guelph Storm in the OHL. Bertuzzi is representing Canada and will play on the Black team for this tournament.

The preliminary round will begin Sunday November 5th and will continue on Monday and Tuesday. Each team plays 3 preliminary games and are seeded for the quarterfinals based on how they stand after the preliminary games. The United States play against Czech Republic on Sunday at 8:00 PM CST. They continue their preliminary round on Monday at 3:30 PM CST against Canada White, and wrap up the preliminary games against Canada Black on Tuesday at 8:00 PM CST.

You can also go to hockeycanada.ca and check out the schedules, results, and rosters of each team. This will be a fun tournament to keep an eye on and check out the new wave of talent that we will see at the 2019 & 2020 NHL drafts.