A year ago, the World Junior A Challenge was a coming out party, in some respects, for forward Kyle Turris. Turris arrived in Yorkton, SK to play with Team Canada West as a potential NHL first round pick and left as a contender for the # 1 spot. He would go on to be selected 3rd overall by Phoenix at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Some parallels can be drawn this week between Turris and Team West forward Joe Colborne, a high-scoring 17 year old forward in the AJHL who is the focus of many a scout at the 2007 World Junior A Challenge in Trail and Nelson, BC.
“This tournament has been great for Junior A players for exposure,” said Joe Colborne. “It brings you up a level to a World level. Guys like Kyle Turris and Riley Nash really opened the doors for guys like me this year so hopefully I can keep the tradition going.”
Head coach Boris Rybalko doesn’t shy away from at least some of the comparisons. As Colborne’s coach this week and all season with the Camrose Kodiaks, Rybalko raves about his young star.
“You don’t want to compare them but like Kyle here last year, it is Joe’s draft year this year. There is a lot of hype about him, him being a possible first round draft choice. The biggest thing that I see about Joe Colborne, in having had the honour and privilege of coaching Kyle (Turris) here last year is that they’re nice young men, they’re level headed. They understand the pressure that’s involved in being a hockey player and a player that’s wanted. They just want to go out there and play the game that they love.”
The young Calgary native of thrilled to be able to count on an experience head coach such as Boris Rybalka to guide him through this important season of his young career.
“He (Boris Rybalka) mainly just told me that you have to almost forget about it and just take it game by game. If you play every game as well as you can then you’ll definitely open some eyes”
Colborne is keeping all of the attention in check, and won’t let his affect either his performance or his ultimate goal this week or this year. Colborne leads the AJHL in scoring.
“It’s more away from the rink that it crosses your mind once in a while. But we have such a great group of guys here and the main thing is to win a gold medal. That would be, not only be a once in a lifetime opportunity kind of thing, but also cement your reputation as a winner.”
While it is much too early to compare Colborne to Turris in terms of draft status, both players, along with several others, are a clear indication that the World Junior A Challenge has officially arrived as an event that showcases top NHL prospects on a yearly basis.
ISS WJAC Top Draft Eligible Prospects
5 - Nikita Filatov (RUS)
26 – Joe Colborne (CAN W)
33 – Sergey Ostapchuk (RUS)
40 – Viatcheslav Voinov (RUS)
44 – Mike Cichy (USA)
51 – Kiril Petrov (RUS)
63 – Corey Trivino (CAN E)
85 – Maxim Chudinov (RUS)
90 – Andrew MacWilliam (CAN W)
International Scouting Services (ISS) provides up-to-date information on the elite 16-, 17- & 18-year-old hockey players around the world. The ISS staff files reports following games worldwide that include analysis and evaluation of prospects. Go to www.isshockey.com for more information