EDMONTON – Two MacEwan Griffins men's hockey players and their head coach have been named to the roster for the U SPORTS all-star team set to compete at Canada's National Junior Team Selection camp in Calgary Dec. 9-12.
"It's a feather in the cap of our program," said Ringrose. "We're continuing to take strides and improve. Obviously, we took a big step this year getting into the U SPORTS level and to have two guys recognized by being on this roster is certainly something we're proud of. Both guys are deserving of the nomination and I think will represent U SPORTS well."
Brandt is currently leading the Griffins in scoring with seven goals and 10 points in 10 games. The Trail, B.C. product has been a driving force for the team since transferring in from Royal Military College where he led U SPORTS in goals during the 2017-18 campaign.
"The past three years, I've been struggling with injuries and over the COVID year I wasn't playing at all, so the last three years have been a struggle," said Brandt, who overcame two ACL injuries before returning to health with the Griffins this season. "So, it's an absolute honour to be able to be named to this team and be able to go out there and represent U SPORTS – not only to be able to play against Team Canada but be able to show my skills on that stage and see what I can do out there.
"I'm very excited for this moment and extremely honoured."
Ringrose noted Brandt is the type of player who could be effective on any line for Team U SPORTS.
"Riley plays with a lot of pace," he said. "He plays a game that is going to translate well against this team. He's difficult to play against. He's a one-shot scorer, so he's able to bring that dynamic.
"On the roster itself, he's a guy that can slide up and down. He can play on your powerplay, he can play on your penalty kill. He plays the game with enough pace that he can play an offensive role and he can check for you. The versatility that he's going to bring will certainly be something that will be helpful in the competition."
Sean Comrie has made a big impact in his first season in U SPORTS, playing in all situations for the Griffins (Joel Kingston photo).
Coming out of the Western Hockey League's Kelowna Rockets, Comrie has quickly made an impact with the Griffins, already suiting up in all situations even as a U SPORTS rookie.
"Sean has come in and established himself as an elite defenceman at this level very early," said Ringrose. "He's another guy who plays in all situations for us.
"The one thing he has the ability to do is he's a very cerebral player. He thinks his way around the rink exceptionally well, so in a competition like this where you're only together for a short period of time he's going to be an impactful guy in whatever role he's asked to play."
Making this team is an honour for Comrie, who has two goals and three points in 12 games so far for the Griffins. He once wore the Maple Leaf himself when he played for Team Canada Black at the 2016 World U17 Hockey Challenge.
"That's a (tournament) that I'll never forget – wearing the Maple Leaf," he said. "It was a super cool experience.
"It will be cool to be part of the tradition of the World Juniors," he added of making the U SPORTS all-star squad. "It will be cool to face some of these kids who are definitely going to play in the NHL someday."
MacEwan Griffins head coach Mike Ringrose has been selected as a co-coach of the U SPORTS all-star team (Jefferson Hagen photo).
Ringrose will also be on the team as a co-coach, alongside Alberta's Ian Herbers under head coach Bert Gilling of Mount Royal University. MRU's Nathan Higgins will act as Team Leader for the All-Star squad.
"It's exciting and it's definitely going to be fun," said Ringrose. "The World Junior under 20 program in Canada is a stories one with a great history. To get the opportunity to compete against that team is exciting."
U SPORTS selected players exclusively from Alberta schools to represent the All-Star team in order to minimize COVID risks throughout the selection tournament.
Canada's National Junior Team selection camp will be held at the WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary and will include practices and two games against the U SPORTS all-stars. The games are scheduled for Dec. 11 (6 p.m.) and Dec. 12 (2 p.m.).
Hockey Canada's National Junior Team has faced various U SPORTS competition on a regular basis since 1988. Since a U SPORTS national all-star team began participating in December 2015, U SPORTS holds a 6-4-1 record.