Regina Pats forward Tanner Howe’s strong play this season has landed him a roster spot in the Capital City Challenge in the nation’s capital.
For Pats assistant coach Ken Schneider, Howe’s growth as a player this year reflected his attitude and personality, on and off the ice.
“It builds confidence,” said Schneider, “and knowing Tanner, he won’t come back overconfident.”
The U-17 tournament in Ottawa started on Nov. 26 and ends Dec. 1. Sixty-six players were selected and broken into three teams: black, red and white.
The fourth team in the tournament is the Canadian National Women’s team, in preparation for the Olympics.
Howe, the Prince Albert native who turned 16 years-old Sunday, was not originally selected for the team, but after an injury to one of the rostered players Howe was called up.
“When you’re a 16-year-old in this league, I don’t know if he even thought that he would make the (Pats) to be quite frank,” said Schneider. “It’s been impressive.”
It’s no doubt that Howe earned the spot. He has 10 points for the Pats this season, and has a point in each of his last six games. His 10 points rank fifth among U-17 players in the WHL, and is good enough for fourth on the Pats.
It’s not just his point-production that caught the eye of the selection committee. “The real interesting part about Tanner is how well-rounded his game for his age,” said Schneider. “He’s a really intelligent player.”
“I think just confidence is a big thing,” said Howe in the Pats press release. Getting selected for a national program will surely boost his confidence when he returns to the Pats lineup.
Howe said he’s “playing with speed and just getting open,” a strategy that led to him scoring his first goal of the tournament in Canada Black’s 7-2 win over Canada red.
Howe quickly entered the zone, found space in the slot and fired home a quick snapshot after getting a pass from tournament teammate Vincent Collard.
“I think an opportunity to do it at the highest level is great exposure for any player,” said Schneider, who hopes to see Howe and others representing the Pats at national events in the future.
Playing in any national event is not only a big deal for the player, but for the organization.
“It’s always great for your program to be able to put players and coaches like we have in Ottawa at the U-17 challenge,” said Schneider, “I think what it does is it exposes players to highest level, and amongst the best players in the country.”