Centre Nick Merkley will come to Kelowna Rockets’ training camp next week with some international hardware in his possession.
The Calgary native and reigning WHL rookie of the year helped Canada to its seventh consecutive gold medal at the U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in the Czech Republic.
The Canadians clinched the title with a 6-2 victory Saturday over the host country in the championship final.
Merkley finished the tournament with four assists in five games.
Canada has taken home every gold medal from the annual summer under-18 tournament since 2008, winning a remarkable 31 of 33 games over that span. It was 5-0 this year, outscoring its opponents 32-10.
Merkley follows in the footsteps of current Kelowna teammates Rourke Chartier (2013) and Madison Bowey (2012) who have won gold with Canada at past Hlinka tournaments.
Merkley led all Rockets rookies in scoring last season with 25 goals and 58 points in 66 games and was named the WHL’s rookie of the year.
Meanwhile, the Rockets are set to open training camp this week with the rookie camp taking place from Aug. 22 to 24 followed by and main camp Aug. 26 to 29. Kelowna opens the WHL exhibition schedule Aug. 30 at Prospera Place vs. Kamloops.