We’re just under two weeks away from the 2017 Canada/Russia Series making a stop at Mosaic Place as Moose Jaw hosts a showdown between Team WHL and Team Russia for the second time in the series history.
Moose Jaw Warriors captain Brett Howden was named to Team WHL last week and on Tuesday, the 19-year-old forward found out that he will wearing a letter for the game as an alternate captain.
Kelowna Rockets forward Dillon Dube will serve as the Team WHL captain for the two games in Moose Jaw and Swift Current, while Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Kale Clague and Calgary Hitmen defenceman Jake Bean will also be alternate captains.
Howden said he’s excited to hit the ice for the two games against the Russians. “Last year I didn’t get the chance to because of the injuries, so I was a little disappointed but the fact that I’m healthy this year and ready to go, I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.
The Tampa Bay Lightning first rounder will be following in his older brother Quinton’s footsteps once again when he plays in the game on Monday, Nov. 6 at Mosaic Place as the elder Howden also took part in a Canada/Russia Series game in Moose Jaw during his 19-year-old season.
“It’s so funny how many things that me and Quinton have in common, so that’s so cool and I’m excited to play in front of our home fans,” said the younger Howden.
It’s been a stellar start to the season for Howden, who has six goals and 15 points in 11 games so far.
The Canada/Russia Series is the next step in the process of trying to make Canada’s national junior team. With so much talent on the ice for the two games, Howden said making sure you push your game to another level is key.
“Everyone is going to be going all out, there’s a lot of eyes watching and everyone knows that,” he said. “It’s always an intense game.
“They know what I’m about, but they still want to see more from me. I need to play more with the puck and be more poised with it, that’s the biggest thing that I need to work on, being that guy that always has the puck and wants to make a difference.”
In addition to Howden, Dube, Clague and Bean, Team WHL will be loaded with some top talent like Regina Pats star Sam Steel and top 10 NHL pick Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks.
Howden said being familiar with a lot of the players on Team WHL will help make the transition into the game much easier.
“I’ve played with literally every single guy on the roster, that obviously makes it a lot easier, you feel a lot more comfortable going out there and it’s really exciting, we have that chemistry already,” he said.
“From looking at the team, it’s going to be a hard working team, there’s a lot of skill, but like Tim (Hunter, Warriors and Team WHL head coach) always preaches, hard work goes a long ways.”
The two WHL games of the 2017 Canada/Russia Series go on Nov. 6-7 in Moose Jaw and Swift Current. Click here to get your tickets for the game at Mosaic Place.