Yorkton Terrier right wing Clarke Breitkreuz, was one of seven Junior A players to repeat as a member of Team West at the recent World Junior A Challenge.
On his return to the Terriers, Breitkreuz reflected on the experience. Both years the experiences were unbelievable, he says.
This year Penticton went all out. "The City of Penticton was done up to the nines. Everyone in the community was in Team West apparel, the shops, everything was done up. Our hotel was called Canada House," he recalls.
It was a fantastic environment and the arena was packed every night, Breitkreuz adds.
The 2010 Challenge featured six teams again, including Canada West, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, the United States and Canada East.
Breitkreuz says the U.S. team was a powerhouse again, coming from a great league which has great hockey. "They bring solid teams every year," he suggests.
Team Switzerland brought a team of 15 - 19 year-olds. "It's looking like it could possibly be their world junior team," Breitkreuz speculates.
He also feels the two Canadian teams were also strong teams because Canada produces some good hockey in his opinion.
Team West included players from southern Ontario, the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, Alberta Junior Hockey League and the B.C. Hockey League.
Breitkreuz admits the outcome was a little disappointing as he believes Team West had the ability to do better. But, the competition was also good. "Fourth place, I guess, was disappointing for us, but the experience is something that will never be forgotten and you can always take positives away from it," he observes.
As a returning veteran Breitkreuz, who was named team captain, led his team in points.
"On a personal level it was a great tournament for me, bringing a lot of exposure, he points out.
He feels great to be back with the Terriers. "The guys just stepped up and the hockey we're playing right now is fantastic hockey. It's going to get back in the saddle and back on our winning streak," Breitkreuz closes.