Whitehorse Daily Star

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WEARING THE MAPLE LEAF – Whitehorse hockey player Dylan Cozens was named to Team Canada for the World Under-17 Challenge in British Columbia Nov. 5-11.

Cozens named to Team Canada U-17

Wearing the red maple leaf and representing his country has always been a dream for Dylan Cozens — a dream that came true on Tuesday.

By Dustin Cook on October 18, 2017

Wearing the red maple leaf and representing his country has always been a dream for Dylan Cozens — a dream that came true on Tuesday.

The 16-year-old Whitehorse native was named to Team Canada for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge this November in British Columbia.

“Ever since I was a kid growing up, you just dream of putting on the maple leaf and playing for Canada,” Cozens said today. “I hope to do my country proud.”

He was one of 66 players selected Tuesday to play for one of Canada’s three teams in the tournament. Currently playing for the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the Western Hockey League (WHL), Cozens joins 22 other players in the league who made the team.

Cozens was on a retreat with his Hurricanes teammates when the news was release. He said he was informed by the Hurricanes’ general manager he made the team and was instantly congratulated by all his teammates.

With a lack of cell phone reception at the retreat, Cozens’ parents in Whitehorse found out the team was announced through word of mouth.

“We’re very proud of Dylan of course,” said his mother Sue Bogle, who immediately sent her son a text congratulating him.

Cozens has been making waves early in his first full season with the Hurricanes with four goals and three assists in his first eight games picking up where he left off from the team’s playoff run last season.

“I’m happy with my play and doing what I need to do so far,” Cozens said.

After his high school season with Yale Hockey Academy ended, Cozens joined the Hurricanes in April playing 12 games netting three goals and five assists.

One of his points was a massive game-tying goal in Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs against the Medicine Hat Tigers. Cozens found the back of the net with 2:43 remaining to force the game into overtime.

The Hurricanes won the game on a short-handed goal and Cozens went on to score another goal in the conference final against the Regina Pats.

Yukon Rivermen head coach Martin Lawrie coached Cozens growing up in the Mustangs program and said he’s not surprised to see the success Cozens is having.

“I’m really happy for Dylan, it’s well-deserved for sure,” Lawrie said. “He’s a young man who’s worked really hard, he’s incredibly talented, and a dedicated hockey player.”

Cozens was drafted to the WHL by the Hurricanes 19th overall becoming the first player from the Yukon selected in the first round.

To pursue his hockey dreams, Cozens left Whitehorse at the age of 14 to play in British Columbia.

Bogle said it was a tough decision for Cozens to leave home but something he really wanted to go after to improve his game.

“Sometimes in a small pond you don’t know how you’re going to do in a big lake,” she said. “He really wanted to try it out.”

Cozens said he comes home to Whitehorse in the summer and for Christmas and is honoured to represent his hometown on the world stage.

“I’m really happy to be from Whitehorse. To be able to represent Whitehorse, it’s great,” he said.

Lawrie is hoping the trend of players leaving for stiffer competition will start to change now with the Yukon Rivermen set to start their inaugural season next Friday.

The Bantam Tier 1 team will be playing in the BCHL against high-level teams and will expose the players to scouts and coaches from junior teams.

“There are a couple benefits for sure,” Lawrie said of the new team. “Kids probably won’t have to leave as young as Dylan to pursue elite hockey.”

The world under-17 tournament will run Nov. 5-11 in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C.

Bogle said she has already booked time off and the family is ready to make the drive down.

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