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SJHL contingent at worlds proud to represent Canada

Zac Somers of the Melfort Mustangs, Ethan Zielke of the Humboldt Broncos and head coach Brayden Klimosko of the Battlefords North Stars were at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Cornwall, Ont.
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Canada West placed fourth at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Cornwall, Ont.

MELFORT, HUMBOLDT, BATTLEFORDS — The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League contingent at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge was proud to represent its country.

Zac Somers of the Melfort Mustangs and the Humboldt Broncos’ Ethan Zielke competed for Canada West at the prestigious tournament in December. Battlefords North Stars head coach Brayden Klimosko served as an assistant coach for the team. Canada West placed fourth at the Cornwall, Ont. Tournament with a 3-2 shootout loss to Sweden in the bronze medal game. The United States beat Canada East, 5-2, for gold.

“Being able to wear a maple leaf was truly remarkable,” Somers said. “Playing against players from all different countries at that calibre is something that pushes you to be better and makes you a better player and person. The professionalism of the challenge was top notch as well.”

Zielke also said he enjoyed the professionalism of the challenge and the way the players were treated.

“It’s an all-around incredible experience that I was proud to be a part of,” he said.

Serving on the coaching staff, Klimosko said, “I enjoyed working with high level coaches and athletes and truly seeing how some of the best junior players in the world stack up versus our best.”


Zac Somers

Somers had a strong start to the tournament by scoring in Canada West’s 5-3 opening win over the U.S. An injury limited him to playing three games at the event.

"Zac brought pace and energy on both sides of the puck throughout our evaluation camp,” Canada West head coach Justin Falk said. “Carrying that into our first preliminary game Zac scored a crucial goal against USA to help us win the first game of the tournament.

“Unfortunately, Zac missed a large portion of the tournament due to injury and his forechecking and energy on our checking line was greatly missed. A great young player with a high upside as he continues his career."

A Melfort product, Somers enjoyed competing against international teams at the World Junior A Challenge.

“The skill level coming from other countries and their style of play was an eye opener,” he said. “The styles of play were a little bit different, but ultimately at the international stage skill is a huge factor in a short tournament like that one.”


Ethan Zielke

Zielke played six games for Canada West. He recorded an assist.

"Zielke's brought a high level of energy and communication to our group throughout camp and the tournament,” Falk said. “Playing games at different times of the day - it didn't matter if it was an early morning practice or evening game at seven o'clock - we

knew the emotion he would leak into the rest of our locker room and team. Playing hard-nosed two-way hockey, he was instrumental in the day-to-day success of our team."

Zielke proved he could compete against the high calibre competition.

“The hockey is next level,” the Calgary product said. “The pace is high and eye opening. There are multiple NHL draft picks in that tournament so that gives you an idea of what the competition is like.”


Brayden Klimosko

Falk was pleased to have Klimosko, a Humboldt product, on his coaching staff.

"Brayden brought a unique balance to our staff through his character, passion and heart for these players. It is no surprise the success he is having with his club team in Battleford as the energy and work ethic he put into his coaching role, the players, and particularly the back end was contagious for myself and the rest of the staff. Honing in the on the penalty kill side proved vital in getting all of our players on the same page quickly for a short term event and he did a tremendous job with it."

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