The Valley West Hawks are off to a roaring start this season, in large part thanks to two of their forwards. Those two forwards will represent B.C. at the upcoming 2017 WHL Cup.
Justin Sourdif and Cameron MacDonald were named to Team B.C. after spending their first four games of the season lighting up the BCMML for the unbeaten Hawks.
Both players were drafted by WHL teams in the 2017 Bantam Draft earlier this year. Sourdif was a third overall pick of the Vancouver Giants, while MacDonald was a 5th round pick (96th overall) of the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Hawks head coach Rob Evers is part of the committee that selects Team B.C., and he notes that the selections of Sourdif and MacDonald extend past their offensive production.
“We wanted to have twelve really good forwards on this team,” said Evers. “We didn’t just want forward who can produce offensively but forwards who are responsible at both ends of the ice.”
“Justin and Cameron bring the ability to play a 200-foot game.” With this team, we have four lines that are both offensively and defensively responsible.”
While Evers notes their 200-foot game, their offensive contributions are hard to ignore. The 15-year-old Surrey natives are in their first year of eligibility for the BCMML, yet both players are among league’s best.
Through four games, Sourdif leads the league with 11 points (three goals, eight assists). His linemate, MacDonald, leads the league with five goals and already has another five assists.
In terms of other local talent on Team B.C., Delta native Ryan Helliwell also made the team on defence. He currently plays for the Burnaby Winter Club Midget Prep team.
For those that don’t recognize the WHL Cup, it was renamed prior to this year’s event. In previous years it was called the Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup.
Players such as Morgan Reilly, Jake Virtanen and Matthew Barzal have previously represented Team B.C. in the tournament. Team Alberta has been crowned champion five years in a row.
Valley West Hawks are rolling
Having two of the best players in the league surely helps, but players throughout the Hawks roster are firing on all cylinders right now. They’re 4-0 to start the season, and 13-0 this year including preseason.
“The last five games of the preseason was just the current group we have right now,” said Evers. “We really wanted this team to mesh before the season began.”
The regular season started off on the right note after the Hawks had two straight wins against the Cariboo Cougars on opening weekend. The Cougars were the best team from a season ago.
They went into their next game against the Thompson Blazers and put on a clinic, winning 12-1. The Blazers put up a better fight in the next game, but the Hawks still won 3-0.
In our league, it’s super tough to beat a team one day and come out again to beat them the next day,” said Evers. “It was great for our guys to be able to hold them off in the second game.”
It wasn’t just Sourdif and MacDonald for the Hawks versus the Blazers. The whole team was performing at both ends of the ice. That’s even with injuries on the back end to start the season.
“We’ve legitimately been down at least two defencemen in each of our first four games,” Evers said. “Other players have stepped up and played well in their absence.”
“A lot of the guys have clicked really quickly. It’s fun to coach these guys.”
When asked if this team compares to the Hawks team that won the league championship in 2015-16, Evers said that he doesn’t want to make any comparisons.
“Two years ago, that team was super special. On this team, we have a deep forward group and our defence has bought in. Both our goalies give us a chance to win every night.”