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SJHL and southeast connections on World Junior A champions entry

There were multiple SJHL connections, and a couple of people from southeast Saskatchewan, on Team Canada West's gold-winning entry at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge.
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Team Canada West won the World Junior A Hockey Challenge on Sunday.

TRURO, N.S. - The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and southeast Saskatchewan made significant contributions to the Team Canada West entry that won the World Junior A Hockey Challenge Sunday in Truro, N.S.

Team Canada West captured the tournament with a convincing 7-2 victory over Team Canada East. 

Scott Barney, who is the head coach of the Humboldt Broncos, held the same role for Team Canada West at the tournament. The former NHLer has been the Broncos' head coach since midway through the 2018-19 season. 

Among the players on Team Canada West were forward Matthew Van Blaricom of the Humboldt Broncos and defenceman Ronan Buckberger of the Nipawin Hawks. Both players scored twice in the gold-medal game.

Van Blaricom scored four times in the tournament, which led Team Canada West, and he added an assist to finish with five points in six games. 

Both of Buckberger's goals in the tournament were in the gold-medal game. 

Lampman's Nigel Dube was the team's director of player personnel. Dube grew up playing his minor hockey in Lampman and Estevan. He then spent two seasons with the Regina Pat Canadians U18 AAA program and played two games of junior hockey with the Estevan Bruins.

He then played his junior hockey in B.C. with the Penticton Vees and in Alberta with the Camrose Kodiaks. He helped the Kodiaks reach the national junior A title game in 2008. He then spent four seasons playing collegiate hockey with Minot State University.

Dube has been in various coaching and management roles since the 2013-14 season, and has currently been with the Lloydminster Bobcats since the 2018-19 season. He is currently the Bobcats' general manager. 

Ty Mason of Weyburn was among the forwards on Team Canada West. He grew up playing minor hockey in his hometown of Weyburn but also played for the Estevan U18 AAA Bears in their first season in 2020-21. Mason joined the Weyburn Red Wings for the 2020-21 season, and last year had 25 goals and 32 assists for 57 points in 56 games, even though he was still eligible to play U18 hockey.

He parlayed his strong performance into a scholarship with Western Michigan University for the 2024-25 season. He was dealt to Alberta in the offseason, and is now playing with the Brooks Bandits, who won the last three national championships. 

He led Team Canada with four assists in six games. 

Mason is also the son of Willy Mason, who was a forward for the Estevan Bruins when they won the SJHL championship in 1999. Willy Mason is currently an assistant coach with the Red Wings, 

Forward Ryan Zaremba, a 17-year-old forward with the Sherwood Park Crusaders in Alberta, played two games with the Estevan Bruins last season while his family was still residing in Saskatchewan. Zaremba had a goal and three assists in six games. 

Jason Savill of the Flin Flon Bombers will be an equipment manager.

Team Canada West started slowly, falling 4-2 to Sweden in the opening game and 5-2 to Team Canada East. Then they defeated Slovakia 7-3, but lost 5-1 to the U.S. to finish fourth in the round robin.

Canada upset the top-ranked Americans 4-3 in overtime in the semifinal.