In a thrilling showdown at the 2023 WHL Cup in Red Deer, Alberta, the U16 Team Manitoba made history by capturing the gold medal in a shootout, defeating U16 Team Alberta 6-5. The RINK Hockey Academy is incredibly proud of our eight exceptional student-athletes - Peyton Shore, Kaden Allan, Daxon Yerex, Koy Funk, Carter Haney, Aiden Jacobson, Zach Lansard, and Layne Schofield - who played a pivotal role in this historic achievement. Additionally, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to our U17 Prep Head Coach and assistant coach at the tournament, Jeff Borse, and our dedicated equipment manager, Mathew Relf.
Defenceman Brek Liske, a Winnipeg native and draft pick of the Everett Silvertips, emerged as the hero of the day by scoring twice in the shootout, including the game-winning goal. This momentous victory marks the first time Team Manitoba has clinched the gold at the WHL Cup.
Our very own Peyton Shore, hailing from Winnipeg and a draft pick of the Red Deer Rebels, exhibited unwavering determination and skill by stopping 53 of 58 shots in the gold medal game against Team Alberta.
The path to victory wasn't without its challenges, as Carels scored three minutes and fifty seconds into the third period, giving Team Manitoba a 5-3 lead. However, Alberta staged a remarkable comeback to force overtime. After ten nail-biting minutes of scoreless play, the two provincial rivals headed to a shootout. In this heart-pounding phase, Liske shone by scoring on two of his three attempts, while Peyton Shore displayed his exceptional skills by stopping five of the six Alberta shots, ensuring Team Manitoba's long-awaited triumph in WHL Cup history.
In previous years, Team Manitoba had achieved Silver Medal finishes in 2015 and 2019, making this gold medal victory even more special.
RHA Winnipeg's Koy Funk, from Portage la Prairie and a Calgary Hitmen draft pick, set the tone by opening the scoring for Team Manitoba in the first period after Team Alberta took an early 1-0 lead. Caelan Joudrey momentarily restored Team Alberta’s one-goal lead at the 9:00 mark of the opening frame, but Tournament MVP Carson Carels answered the call, leveling the game at 2-2.
Team Alberta took a 3-2 lead when Cruz Pavao scored just 56 seconds into the second period. However, Aiden Jacobson of Winnipeg ignited a three-goal surge at the 11:28 mark of the middle frame. Carter Haney, a Winnipeg native and a Regina Pats draft pick, extended Manitoba's lead to 4-2 before the second period concluded. Carels then secured his second goal of the game, making it 5-3, just 3 minutes and 50 seconds into the third period.
Thank you to the City of Red Deer for hosting this remarkable tournament and for their exceptional warmth and hospitality.
In recognition of their extraordinary performance, three of our outstanding players - Peyton Shore, Carson Carels, and Brek Liske - were named to the 2023 WHL Cup All-Star Team, a testament to their dedication and exceptional skills.
2023 WHL Cup All-Star Team
- Goaltender: Peyton Shore, Team Manitoba (Red Deer Rebels / Winnipeg, Man.)
- Defence: Carson Carels, Team Manitoba (Prince George Cougars / Cypress River, Man.)
- Defence: Brek Liske, Team Manitoba (Everett Silvertips / Winnipeg, Man.)
- Forward: Dayne Beuker, Team Saskatchewan (Lethbridge Hurricanes / Humboldt, Sask.)
- Forward: Markus Ruck, Team B.C. (Medicine Hat Tigers / Osoyoos, B.C.)
- Forward: Liam Ruck, Team B.C. (Medicine Hat Tigers / Osoyoos, B.C.)
Once again, congratulations to our remarkable student-athletes, dedicated coaches, and the entire RINK Hockey Academy community for this historic victory at the 2023 WHL Cup.