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Cougars Brennan, Samson invited to world junior tryout camp, Heidt vying for spot on U-18 team

Cats announce preseason schedule, 2022-23 season starts Sept. 23
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Three Prince George Cougars are going camping this summer and they won’t have to worry about swatting mosquitoes while they are there.

Bugs don’t like ice rinks.

The Cougars announced Thursday that goalie Tyler Brennan and defenceman Ethan Samson, both born in 2003, have been invited to Canada’s national junior team camp in Calgary, July 23-27, while 2005-born centre Riley Heidt is one of the 26 forwards invited to Canada’ under-18 selection camp, also in Calgary, July 20-23.

Brennan, listed as the top North American goalie prospect available for the 2022 NHL draft, July 7-8 in Montreal, is heading into his fourth season in the WHL with the Cougars.

The Winnipeg native posted an 11-25-2 record last season with a 3.58 goals-against average and .899 save percentage with four shutouts in 39 regular season games. In four playoff games against Portland he cut his average to 1.86 and boosted his save rate to .956.

Brennan was with the Canadian team that won the 2021 under-18 world championship in Texas and also played for one of the Canadian teams at the U17 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Samson, a sixth-round Philadelphia Flyers draft pick in 2021, is among 14 defencemen vying for a position on the world junior team blueline. Last season the North Delta native scored 15 goals and had 28 assists for 43 points, playing all 68 games on the schedule. He’s also preparing for his fourth WHL season with the Cougars.

The 2023 world junior championship will be played in Halifax, N.S., and Moncton, N.B.

Heidt led the Cougars in scoring last year as a 16-year-old rookie with 58 points, including 21 goals. The native of Saskatoon, picked second overall in the 2019 WHL draft, will compete for a spot on the team that will represent Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer, July 31-Aug. 6.

The Cougars also announced their four-game pre-season schedule for 2022, which will start with a pair of games in Port Coquitlam. They’ll take on the Vancouver Giants on Friday, Sept. 9 at Jon Baillie Arena in Port Coquitlam, then face the Victoria Royals the following night in the same rink.

The following weekend the Cats play a home-and-home series against the Kamloops Blazers which starts Friday, Sept. 16 in Kamloops and wraps up Saturday, Sept . 17 at CN Centre.

The Cats open the 2022-23 season on Friday, Sept. 23 against a yet-to-be announced opponent.