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The hype around prospect hockey in December is mostly reserved for the World Junior Championships. As it should, however, it is not the lone tournament ongoing in the final few weeks of 2019. Starting today, from Dec. 7 to Dec. 15, the World Junior A Challenge (WJAC) will be the focus of the scouting community.

What is the WJAC? Well, it is an under-20 tournament featuring the best junior-A players in the world, divided up into five different teams. The United States, Czech Republic, and Russia, will send all of their best, with no restriction on region. Players from the USHL, MHL, and Czech U19 league typically make up these rosters.

For Canada, their process is slightly different. Hockey Canada divides their selects into two teams, East and West. The East primarily send players from the OJHL and CCHL, while the West mainly send AJHL and BCHL players.

This year’s tournament will be hosted in Dawson Creek, BC.

The Red Wings will have one player participating at this event — 2019, 7th round draft pick Carter Gylander. Gylander is a goaltender playing for Sherwood Park in the AJHL and has enjoyed a great season, statistically speaking. He currently boasts a .923 and a 16-1-0 record. Worth noting, however, there is a major discrepancy in talent in the AJHL from the top teams and bottom teams. Take a quick look at their goaltending stats page and you’ll see a trend in ridiculous stat-lines.

Gylander will form a tandem with Matthew Davis for Team Canada West. He should land a few starts but Davis is expected to be the go-to guy. Davis was Team Canada West’s starter at last year’s tournament.

The opening schedule can be seen below:

Date Opponent
12/7, 9:00 PM EST United States
12/8, 9:00 PM EST Canada East
12/11, 9:00 PM EST Russia
12/12, 9:00 PM EST Czech Republic

Following the preliminary round will be a two semi-final games to determine who plays in the gold and bronze medal games. The semi-final round will take place on Dec. 14 and the medal round on Dec. 15.

This tournament should be a good opportunity for Gylander to play against higher competition. Potentially heading to Colgate University next season, any chance he gets to face non-AJHL competition is vital.