Alex Newhook of St. John’s, Brett Budgell of Paradise and Dawson Mercer of Bay Roberts will be among the 44 players gathering in Calgary at the end of July for the national under-18 summer team’s hockey camp.
From that camp, Canada’s team will be selected to play in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, which is set for Edmonton and Red Deer in August.
Originally known as the Hlinka Cup — named after former Czech Republic player and coach Ivan Hlinka — the tournament was previously staged in the Czech Republic, but has been since rebranded to include Wayne Gretzky and will now also be played in Canada.
While the tournament is being co-hosted in Edmonton and Red Deer, Canada will play all of its games out of Rogers Place in Edmonton.
Canada won last year’s championship in Breclav, Czech Republic, beating the host team 4-1 in the final with a squad that included 18 players who were selected in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft last weekend.
Speaking of the draft, the early line on Newhook is that he’s expected to be a top 10 pick next June.
The 17-year-old was named rookie of the year in the British Columbia Hockey League last season after scoring 22 goals and 66 points in 45 games for the Victoria Grizzlies.
He was also named the top rookie in junior A hockey across Canada.
Newhook is expected to return to Victoria this season and captain the Grizzlies before heading off to Boston College in the fall of 2019.
Last November, Newhook had four points in five games while playing for Team Canada Black at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in B.C.
Budgell and Mercer also played for Canadian entries in that U17 tourney.
Budgell, 17, was the Charlottetown Islanders’ top rookie this season following a 10-goal, 22-point campaign in only 32 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Budgell joined the Islanders in January after starting the 2017-18 season with the United States Hockey League’s Chicago Steel.
In the playoffs, Budgell had six goals and six assists in 12 games for Charlottetown.
Mercer, a first-round draft selection by the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the 2017 QMJHL Draft, had 11 goals and 15 assists in 61 regular-season games with the Voltigeurs last season. He added a goal and three helpers in 10 post-season contests.
Mercer turns 17 in October.