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Airdronians make Canada Winter Games roster

Two Airdrie hockey players will don the Team Alberta jersey at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, in Red Deer, Alta., Feb. 15 to March 3, 2019.
Local representation
Craig Armstrong and Keagan Slaney will join the Team Alberta U16 hockey team at the Canada Winter Games.

Two Airdrie hockey players will don the Team Alberta jersey at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, in Red Deer, Alta., Feb. 15 to March 3, 2019. Fifteen-year-olds Keagan Slaney and Craig Armstrong will represent their province on the U16 roster, Hockey Alberta announced Dec. 6, 2018. “It’s amazing. I’ve been dreaming about it for a long time, ever since I knew what the tournament was,” Slaney said. “It’s a big event around Canada, so it’ll be cool to represent my province there.” The players have an established rapport ­­– they were a part of the Airdrie Xtreme AAA bantam team that won the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League championship in 2017-18, and are currently teammates on the Edge Mountaineers midget prep team. Slaney said it will be nice to have a friend and teammate alongside him when he travels to Red Deer for the Games. “We’ve played together for the last three years,” he said. “We’ve become pretty close, so it’ll definitely be good knowing he’s on the team.” According to Hockey Alberta, scouts compiled the team’s shortlist based on players’ performances throughout their regular-season, as well as the Alberta Cup in April and at a U16 Summer Camp, held in Camrose in July. A shortlist roster was established from the 80 players who were invited to Camrose, according to Hockey Alberta, and scouts monitored the selected players during the first months of the 2018-19 season. Slaney – who has recorded three goals and 13 assists as a defenseman for the Edge in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League this year – said his versatility will be his greatest asset for Team Alberta. “I’m definitely a strong two-way [player],” he said. “I feel I play defence as well as anyone else, but I can also chip in on offence, too.” Armstrong, meanwhile, has found the net 11 times in 23 games for the Mountaineers, while contributing 12 assists. Alongside Hockey Alberta’s scouts, the two Airdrie products have also attracted interest from Western Hockey League (WHL) teams. Last May, they were selected in the major junior league’s 2018 bantam draft, and later signed WHL Standard Player Agreements. Slaney committed to play for the Edmonton Oil Kings, while Armstrong signed his agreement with the Prince George Cougars. Slaney said cracking the Oil Kings roster next year is utmost on his mind, while he continues his hockey development at the Edge School. He’s been called up by Edmonton three times so far. “I’m obviously trying to make the Oil Kings next year and I felt going to Edge gave me the best chance [to do that], with the facilities there, being on the ice every day and being able to work out whenever I wanted,” he said. Slaney added he expects to see plenty of friends and family in the stands in Red Deer when he plays at his first Canada Winter Games. “I have a lot of friends and family there, to come support me, so I’m looking forward to it,” he said. Slaney, Armstrong and the rest of Team Alberta will kick off the tournament Feb. 1. The tournament runs until Feb. 22.

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