Riley Stadel (3) of Surrey celebrates a goal with his Kelowna Rockets teammates during a game Nov. 9 against the Red Deer Rebels in Kelowna. Stadel will leave the team temporarily to play for Team Pacific at the World Junior Under 17 Hockey Challenge Dec. 29 to Jan. 4 in Quebec.

Picked for Team Pacific

Riley Stadel chosen to play for elite team at international tournament

It was a call to the coach’s office Riley Stadel didn’t mind receiving.

The 16 year-old defenceman for the Kelowna Rockets was summoned Thursday morning, just before the Western Hockey League team was boarding a bus for Kennewick, Washington for a two-game series with the Tri-Cities Americans.

Stadel, a Cloverdale native, was informed he had been selected to play for Team Pacific at the World Junior Under-17 Hockey Challenge Dec. 29 to Jan. 4 in Drummondville and Victoriaville, Quebec.

“They (coaching staff) called me into the office and showed me the (Team Pacific) roster,” said Stadel Sunday afternoon from Kelowna, just hours after returning from Kennewick.

“I was not expecting it. But I’ve worked hard and played well this season, so it wasn’t a total surprise.”

Stadel was short listed following a join BC Hockey/Hockey Alberta camp July 25-29 in Kamloops. Stadel was one of 24 defencemen among the 68 players from the two provinces at the camp, which gave Team Pacific coaches a chance to look at prospects for the team. Players continued to be evaluated for the first two months of the current season, with the final team announced last Thursday.

The tournament features five regional teams from Canada – Pacific (B.C. and Alberta), West (Saskatchewan and Manitoba), Ontario, Quebec at Atlantic (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador) – as well as the national under-17 teams of Russia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United States.

Anxious to wear a Hockey Canada uniform for the tournament, Stadel was still waiting to hear what his role will be in Quebec at the end of next month.

“It was hard to talk to the (Team Pacific) coaches because I was in the United States all weekend,” he said. “But I will talk to them a little more in the next couple of days.”

Stadel is in his first season with the Rockets, having played his first two games at the Major Junior level with Kelowna at the end of last year. The only 16-year-old among the nine blueliners on the Rockets roster, he has played in 17 of 22 games this season, scoring once and assisting on six others.

“It’s been pretty good this year,” he said. “I’ve been doing pretty well lately. I thought I’ve played well, been pretty solid defensively.”

Stadel is in his second season in the Okanagan, moving to Penticton prior to the start of last year to join the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA) following his final season at the Bantam level with the Cloverdale Minor Hockey Association.

“They (OHA) called and asked if I wanted to come,” he said. “My parents and I saw what they had to offer, and I thought I would develop better there than I would in the (B.C. Hockey) Major Midget League.”

Playing one season of Midget hockey at OHA helped him decide to join the Rockets, and playing two games at the end of last season was “huge” in helping him make the jump.

“The speed in The Dub (WHL) is a lot faster than Midget,” he said. “And the players are so much bigger. Those two games gave me a chance to see what I should expect for this season.”

He’s not sure what to expect in Quebec next month, but he knows what the goal will be.

“I don’t know what my own role will be,” he said. “But like any team, we’re going there to win.”

Just Posted

Big Brother holds casting call in Kelowna

Hopefuls can audition Oct. 18

UBCO earn two golf All-Canadians

Kelowna - Samantha Copeland and Rebecca Reitsma earned national recognition

Second advance poll in West Kelowna

Oct. 16 marks the second advance poll which closes at 8 p.m.

Kelowna skeet shooter wins two world titles

Bob LaRue also stands alone as only certified Level 3 skeet shooting instructor outside U.S.

Legal pot price must be ‘competitive’ with black market: Blair

Bill Blair shared final words on journey to legalization ahead of official day Wednesday

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

UPDATE: B.C. man who swam naked with sharks arrested

David Weaver, of Nelson, will face mischief and assault charges

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Most Read