Conner Roulette is one of the Seattle Thunderbirds’ top prospects. The extremely-talented 16-year-old led the Winnipeg Thrashers last season with 88 points. The total was also good for third in the Manitoba AAA U-18 hockey league.
Last week, however, Conner traded in his skates for a pair of shoes. He played on Team Canada at the Ball Hockey World Championships Junior Cup in the Czech Republic.
The tournament began on Thursday, June 27, as Conner’s Team Canada West beat Slovakia 3-2. Four days later, Team Canada West became Champions, besting Team Canada East 8-6 in the final.
Over the course of the five games, the team went a perfect 5-0, outscoring their opponents 30-10. Conner also dominated the competition offensively, with 12 points (5G), playing on the first line.
“It was probably the greatest feeling I’ve ever felt in the game. Not that many people play competitive back home, so to win it all overseas is such an amazing feeling,” said Roulette. “Everyone’s still talking about it in our group chat a few days later.”
“I’m pretty proud of what I was able to produce. I also played with a couple of really good players,” Roulette continued. “We had chemistry from day one. I’m happy with everything.”
After arriving home on Sunday, Roulette gets a little bit of time to let everything soak in. Next up, he’s off to Calgary as an invitee to Canada’s national under-17 development camp from July 19-26.
Conner will be one of 64 forwards at the camp.
“It feels great to be one of the players selected. I take it as the next step to where I want to be,” said Roulette. “I need to soak it all in and I want to make my family proud.”
After the camp, the coaching staff and scouts will watch all players through the first couple weeks of the 2019-20 season. That’s when three rosters will be named to represent Team Canada at the 2019 World U-17 Hockey Challenge in Medicine Hat and Swift Current.
“Everyone obviously wants to make the team. Even if I don’t make the team, I already have confidence because I was invited,” said Roulette. “Getting invited will push me even harder moving forward. ”
Conner will be Seattle-bound in late August, as he tries to make the Thunderbirds as a 16-year-old. He played one game last year against the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Seattle begins their pre-season on August 30, and their regular-season starts on September 21. Conner is planning to be there for both and everything after.
“I am pretty confident in myself that next season is looking really good,” Roulette continued. “I just need to go in and show what I have, but I know nothing is guaranteed. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, and I can’t wait for it.”
Scoring is just what Conner does best. Besides the 94-point total from last season with the Thrashers, Roulette also played at the Canada Winter Games for Team Manitoba. He put up eight points (4G) in six games.
Prior to last season, Roulette had 124 points with the Winnipeg Hawks Bantam AAA team. If he is successful in earning a spot on Seattle’s roster as a 16-year-old, putting up points like that will be difficult, but Conner’s up for anything that comes his way.
“I don’t really have confidence that I’ll be a first line goal scorer right away,” said Roulette. “With that being said, I do plan on working as hard as I can to earn that spot in the next couple of years. I want to be a great team guy. I’ve always dreamt of getting the chance of playing in the WHL, so I have to make the most of it.”