Three Eagles invited to World Junior Challenge tryout camp

Jeff Stewart, Desi Burgart and Cory Babichuk to vie for spot at World Junior ‘A’ Challenge, set for Alberta.

A trio of Surrey Eagles have been invited to try out for the upcoming World Junior ‘A’ Challenge which is set to hit the ice later this month.

Eagles forwards Jeff Stewart and Desi Burgart, as well as defenceman Cory Babichuk were among those listed on the tryout roster for Canada West when Hockey Canada made the announcement last week.

The tournament is set to begin Dec. 11 in Bonnyville, Alta. and will feature the top under-20 junior ‘A’ players from throughout Canada, as well as from the United States and throughout Europe, including traditional hockey powerhouses like Russia and Sweden.

The international tournament was first staged in 2006, and has been staged in cities across Canada, including Langley in 2011. Current NHLers Nik Ehlers and Kyle Turris have played in the tournament.

Last year, Ty Westgard was the Eagles’ representative at the event.

Should they make the final Canada West roster, it would be the first time wearing the Maple Leaf for all three of Stewart, Burgart and Babichuk.

“It’s a big honour,” Burgart said. “There are a lot of great players in this league, and in Western Canada, so… to get the opportunity to possibly play for that team would be tremendous.”

Burgart is in his first year with the Eagles and has 12 goals and 29 points in 29 games. Stewart, in his second year with the team, is right behind Burgart among the team’s leading scorers, with 27 points in 27 games.

Babichuk, who has been one of the Eagles’ top defencemen this season, has 15 points in 27 contests.

As an Alberta native, the blue-liner would relish the opportunity to play such a high-profile tournament close to home.

“I’m excited to work hard for this great opportunity, and see what happens,” said Babichuk, who is committed to the NCAA’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

“It would be great to play in front of all my friends and family in Alberta.”

All three players will leave for tryouts on Dec. 4.

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