Greater Trail minor hockey product Owen McCarthy made a big impression at BC Hockey’s Program of Excellence (PoE).
BC Hockey announced the roster earlier this month and McCarthy, a RINK Academy player, was among the best U16 players in B.C. and Yukon selected to play for Team BC at the WHL Cup.
“I was so happy when I got the call letting me know that I made Team BC,” McCarthy told the Times. “I am very excited to represent my province in the WHL Cup this October.”
McCarthy, 15, is a five-foot-10 skilled defenceman who brings a high hockey IQ and pedigree to Team BC’s back end. The Victoria Royals selected McCarthy 69th overall in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft in May.
“Owen is a the type of defenceman attackers don’t enjoy playing against,” said Royals Assistant GM and Director of Player Personnel, J.F. Best, following the draft. “He is a smooth skater who takes good angles to reduces time and space. It’s clear that he loves to take on the best players and shut them down. With the puck, he is a deceptive passer with the ability to hit narrow seems on the offensive blueline.”
The PoE process was not an easy one, and has been ongoing since the Regional Camp in Kelowna in March, followed by the BC Cup in Salmon Arm in April, and the Provincial Camp in Chilliwack, July 20-27.
“Team BC is a difficult team to make,” said McCarthy. “There were a lot of great players to choose from. I am honoured to have been selected as one of the top six defencemen in British Columbia.”
Team BC has their sights set on hoisting the 2023 WHL Cup, as the team prepares to travel to Red Deer on Oct. 15 to participate in the annual event, Oct. 18-22. The final roster consists of two goaltenders, six defencemen, and 12 forwards from across B.C. and Yukon.
“It was a difficult process getting the roster down to just 20 players since there is so much talent throughout B.C. and Yukon,” said Commissioner of BC Hockey’s Program of Excellence, Fred Zweep. “We are excited to see this group of players compete in Red Deer at the WHL Cup and continue their hockey development.”
McCarthy played for the U15 Prep team at the RINK Hockey Academy in Kelowna last season and returned this season.
“It is a great academy that has allowed me to play against top-level competition,” said McCarthy. “I enjoyed playing in the Greater Trail Minor Hockey system. I got to play with my friends, had a lot of great coaches who kept the game fun, and I gained a skill set that prepared me to move away and play against top-level players my age.”
Team BC will play against provincial teams from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan at the WHL Cup. The teams will battle it out for the tournament’s top spot, and at the same time, players will be looking to impress the many scouts expected to be in attendance.
McCarthy is looking forward to competing for Team BC, but is uncertain about his future and whether he will set his sights on the Western Hockey League, or take the Junior A route to the NCAA.
“I am still undecided about which path I want to take,” McCarthy added. “I am just focused on getting better every day, having a good season with RHA and hopefully bringing home gold for BC at the WHL Cup.”
Team BC will be led by head coach Jason Becker and assistant coaches Craig Bedard and Riley Emmerson.
The 2023 WHL Cup tournament schedule will be released by BC Hockey in the near future.