For over a quarter of a century, the Mackenzie Investments Whistler Cup has brought together the world's top U16 ski racers.
That's no different this year as over 450 youngsters from all over the world are getting set to compete this weekend.
"It's looking very good. We have a very full roster for our U16 races, as well as for our U14 races. We're very excited to host everyone again," Whistler Cup administrator Christine Cogger said.
After the American team returned last year for the 25th anniversary, Cogger was excited to see the Yankees expand their presence even further this year.
"We're really excited to welcome two U.S. U14 teams here," she said, adding Slovakia will send a U16 contingent for the first time.
Switzerland, meanwhile, will return to defend its Whistler Cup title.
The action will open with the U16 super-G on Thursday, April 12. The U14s will get involved the next day with the ladies doing the slalom and the men taking on the parallel slalom as the U16s both hit the giant slalom. On April 14, the U14 men will do the giant slalom while the ladies challenge the parallel slalom and the U16 athletes will complete the slalom course. To wrap up, the U14 men will do the slalom, the ladies will run the giant slalom, and the U16s will complete the team event.
Tait Jordan is the lone Whistler Mountain Ski Club athlete who will suit up for Team Canada in the U16 division. Meanwhile, WMSC's David Wood will represent the province on BC2's team, while Matthias Shorter, Hayden Harley and John Nicolls made it through the BC Quota. On the U16 women's side, Jaden Dawson, Freya Jumonville and Emeline Bennett will represent the club on the B.C. teams, while Fiona McInnes, Alyssa Emery, Hailey Nelson, Katie Doiron, Bella Bay and Amanda Miller qualified through B.C. Quota.
On the men's side, Chase Burns, Shunho Ishagaki, Curtis Jepsen, Kevin Lai, Jack MacDonald, Benjamin Neeves, Cody Trinkhaus and Adam Usher will represent the club on the U16 side while Katrina Aidelbaum, Georgia Ball, Jamie Border, Sophie Bury, Holly Clarke, Sloane Goldberg, Paige Heintzman, Dee Dee Lai, Gabriella Novak and Ines Pinyol will do so on the women's side.
At the U14 level, Duncan Ross and Felix Shorter will represent B.C. on the men's side while Alexa Brownlie, Erin Husken, Kaila Lafreniere and Sara Stiel will do so on the women's side.
At the club level, Isabelle Bexton, Meagan Doiron, Ries Holmes, Anika Husken, Ella Kaufmann, Laura Keogh, Taylor Legge, Kaitlyn Maloney, Tatum Nash, Frederique Ouelett-Margarit, Ava Parkhill, Ashley Perron, Jacqueline Smith and Sarah-Elizabeth Whelan will suit up on the women's side while Dylan Boyd, Tye Chilton, Ambrose Deck Stang, Evan Dennison, Andrew Forsgren, Liam Forsyth, Sam Fuller, Sascha Gilbert, August Goldberg, Kian Gottfried, Nick Katrusiak, Rowland Legg, Cameron MacDonald, Kieran McRae, Milan Novak, Logan Sadan, Forrest Savoy, Clayton Smyth, Jack Thomas, Thor Younger and Josh Haun will do so on the men's side.
Full information is at whistlercup.com.
Welsh helps Spruce Kings to BCHL final
Whistler's Nolan Welsh and the rest of the Prince George Spruce Kings haven't had an easy road to get to the British Columbia Hockey League final, but they've absorbed the bumps well.
The Spruce Kings needed the maximum seven games to win their first two playoff series against the Chilliwack Chiefs and Surrey Eagles before dispatching the fellow Whistlerite Ben Raffler and his Powell River Kings in five games. The Spruce Kings will now face the Wenatchee Wild for the Fred Page Cup starting Friday night in Washington State.
The 18-year-old Welsh already matched his season total of three goals in the postseason, where he's also chipped in four assists.
Raffler, a stay-at-home defenceman, didn't score at all in the playoffs but was a reliable contributor, playing in all 16 Powell River postseason contests.
The Jr. 'A' BCHL is the West Coast equivalent of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, which saw one of its clubs, the Humboldt Broncos, lose 10 players and five staff members in a bus crash on Friday, April 6.
The Whistler Minor Hockey Association is encouraging the public to wear a hockey jersey as a sign of solidarity on Thursday, April 12 as part of a nationwide campaign. The club also recommends anyone looking to help to contribute to the official fundraiser at gofundme.com/funds-for-humboldt-broncos. The campaign has raised nearly $7.8 million as of April 10.