Chilliwack Chief grad competes at Hockey Canada camp

Chilliwack Chief grad competes at Hockey Canada camp

Dennis Cholowski is gunning for a spot on Canada’s national World Junior team.

Dennis Cholowski already has fond memories of Buffalo and the First Niagara Center, and if all goes according to plan, he is hoping to create some new memories of the city.

In 2016, Cholowski was sitting in the stands in Buffalo with his family, when he fulfilled the childhood dream of hearing his name called in the NHL entry draft. The Detroit Red Wings selected the lanky Langley defenceman in the first round, 20th overall.

And now, the 19-year-old is one of 32 Canadian hopefuls, dreaming of wearing the red and white for Team Canada at the 2018 IIHF world junior hockey championships, which just so happen to be playing back in Buffalo at the KeyBank Center (formerly the First Niagara Center).

“A lot of great memories in the building,” Cholowski told The Times last week by phone, following practice with the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League.”So it would be really cool to go to the world juniors and play there.”

Cholowski is one of 32 players invited to this week’s Team Canada selection camp, which got underway Tuesday, to see which 23 players will make the final roster.

The players received the phone call from Hockey Canada last week.

“That was one of my goals this season, to get invited to make the team, so I am pretty happy,” Cholowski said. “I am honoured just to be selected.”

The fact he is in the mix is of little surprise to Prince George head coach Richard Matvichuk, himself a former first round pick who carved out a long NHL career which saw him suit up in 796 regular season and another 123 playoff games. He also won the Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999.

“He is a special player,” Matvichuk said. “And you could see right off the hop why he was a first rounder, why he is going to be a professional next year.

“He does everything right: first guy at the rink, last guy to leave.”

Cholowski played at Abbotsford’s Yale Hockey Academy before suiting up for the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BC Hockey League. In two full BCHL seasons, Cholowski had 16 goals and 67 points in 105 regular season games.

Before he went away to university, the Red Wings drafted Cholowski. He did play one season of NCAA hockey with the St. Cloud State Huskies but left school after his freshman season to ink an entry-level contract with Detroit.

Rather than playing in Grand Rapids with Detroit’s American Hockey League, the Red Wings sent him to the WHL and Prince George (the Cougars had selected Cholowski in the 10th round of the 2013 WHL bantam draft. He likely would have gone earlier but teams knew he had choosing the junior A route to land an NCAA scholarship.

Matvichuk watched some videos of Cholowski’s NCAA games to get a feel for his new player.

“You could tell he was a puck-moving defenceman, he wanted to carry the puck, he wanted to push the envelope,” the coach said. “That is what his style is — he is an offensive player who defends really well.”

Through the season’s first 28 games, Cholowski sits third on the Cougars with eight goals and 25 points.

“The way he skates and sees the ice, it is like no other,” Matvichuk said, adding he is a coach’s dream for his willingness to learn and desire to get better.

Cholowski left the Cougars this week for the Hockey Canada camp. He is one of 10 defencemen in the mix for a roster spot.

“Just be aggressive, don’t hold anything back. This is my one chance to make the team,” he said about his mindset.

“I am not going to go there an be passive and worry about making mistakes. I am just going to go there, be aggressive and really to try to take a spot on the team.”

Just Posted

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema, a member of the Canadian national women’s soccer squad.
Another scoreless draw for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canadian national women’s soccer squad

Canada played Brazil to a 0-0 tie days after doing the same in a friendly against the Czech Republic

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Chilliwack firefighters watch as an O’Connor Towing operator removes a stolen Volkswagen station wagon from the Fraser River off Cannor Road in west Chilliwack on June 13, 2021. (William Snow photo)
PHOTOS: Stolen vehicle dumped in Fraser River in Chilliwack Sunday

Search and Rescue determined there was no one inside the car found upside down off Cannor Road

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read