Promising local peewee

Shepheard invited to Western Canadian Selects team

The International Selects Hockey Program picked Cody Shepheard from Oceanside Minor Hockey at their annual international peewee tryout camp to join the Western Canada Selects (WCAN) hockey team.

According to ISP’s Brad Church, more than 300 invited players from across North America turned out in St. Albert, Alberta Jan. 2-3 to compete for 68 positions, with those selected invited to the program’s international spring training camp in Stockholm, Sweden and the World Selects U12 Invitational Championship in Helsinki, Finland this April/May.

Shepheard, who plays Tier 2 Peewee Rep for OMHA, leads the local team in scoring with around 50 points in 30 games.

“Cody was superb at the tryout,” said Church, head coach and former professional hockey player. “He not only showed he has the skill to be a top hockey prospect but also demonstrated great leadership and passion on the ice.”

The selection committee he said consisted of independent hockey evaluators including himself, former pro Nathan Dempsey, Ottawa Senators’ goalie consultant John Stevenson and other professional scouts.

According to Church, Selects Hockey is an elite hockey prospect development program owned by Selects Sports Management, Inc. Since 2003, Selects Hockey has worked with top 12-16 year old players across North America and Europe to expose them to all avenues of hockey to facilitate opportunities at the NCAA, junior and professional levels.

Selects Hockey’s growing list of NHL alumni is led by future stars Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche), Logan Couture (San Jose Sharks), Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis Blues), Sam Gagner (Edmonton Oilers) and Ryan O’Reilly (Colorado Avalanche). The program has helped over 175 players receive NCAA scholarships over the past nine years to schools such as Harvard, Boston University, Boston College, University of Michigan and many more.

Shepheard, 11, and a student at QBMS, has also earned a spot in the lineup with the Vancouver Selects’ Vancouver Blue team, a high performance AAA hockey association part of the Durham Hockey Institute (DHI) and one of the top three spring teams in B.C.

The Blue start up the first week of April and their season runs through to mid-July. Cody and company — all the kids at this level were born in 2001 —  will make the trip over to Vancouver every weekend, and the team will play in some big tournaments, competing against some of the top Peewee teams in North America. All the kids are born 2001 at that level. The Select Blue travel to Toronto for a big tourney May 2-6 that will include teams like the Jr. Anaheim Ducks and Jr. LA Kings as well as a team from Czechoslovakia.

Shepheard started playing about five years ago, and his favourite NHL player, not surprisingly, is Sid the Kid — Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“He’s definitely offensively gifted without a doubt,” Peewee A Gens’ coach Rob Noviello said of his first year Peewee Rep player. “He listens well, he works hard, and he gets along well with his teammates.”

His new posting with the Selects in the meantime, is a huge commitment to be sure, but Cody wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I just love it …it’s really fun,” the young sniper shrugged nervously when asked about the busy schedule and what keeps him going.

Closer to home, Cody and his Peewee A Generals’ teammates finished the regular season sitting fifth in their seven team league, and, as reported last week, knocked off two teams above them in the standings last week to advance to their Island finals.

GAME ON: The Peewee A Generals were home at Howie Meeker Arena Sunday against the Powell River Kings in their VIAHL North Island final.  Both teams have already advanced to the four-team Peewee A Tier 2 Island finals which start the following week, but Sunday’s game (score unavailable at long weekend deadline) also determined seeding out of the north.