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Newfoundlanders fall short of cracking national U18 roster

Alex Newhook of St. John’s has opted to return to the Victoria Grizzlies and play NCAA hockey with Boston College rather than join the Halifax Mooseheads, which are playing host to the 2019 Memorial Cup.
Victoria Grizzlies photo - Alex Newhook of St. John’s was the British Columbia Hockey League’s rookie of the year last season, and was also named the top rookie in junior A hockey across Canada. Despite a big season, Newhook, 17, was cut from the national U18 team.

Three hockey players from Newfoundland and Labrador came up short in their quest to land a spot on Canada’s national under-18 hockey team which will play in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup world championship starting Monday in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta.

Alex Newhook and Brett Budgell from St. John’s, and Dawson Mercer of Bay Roberts were among the 44 players who gathered in Calgary last month for team's tryout camp, but they were cut this week.

Dawson Mercer
Dawson Mercer

Of the three, Newhook’s snub is most noteworthy. In three exhibition games, the 17-year-old centre collected a goal and three assists.

He was named rookie of the year in the British Columbia Hockey League last season after scoring 22 goals and 66 points in 45 games for the Victoria Grizzlies.

He was also named the top rookie in junior A hockey across Canada.

Newhook is expected to return to Victoria this season and captain the Grizzlies before heading off to Boston College in the fall of 2019.

He is expected to be a first-round NHL draft pick next June, with the potential to go top 10.

Of the 22 players selected to the roster, only one — Dylan Holloway from Okotoks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League — is a junior A player. The other 21 are from the Canadian Hockey League (Western, Ontario and Quebec major junior hockey leagues).

Mercer, who plays for the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs, had a goal and two assists in Calgary, and they came in Game 2 of the exhibitions. Budgell, a member of the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL, was held off the scoresheet.

Brett Budgell
Brett Budgell

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