Martensville U15AA Marauders forward Sam Failler gets a scoring chance on Warman U15AA Wildcats goalie Matt Warren while evading Wildcats’ defenseman Mason Schierling in a game January 6 in Warman. Failler is one of several Marauders selected to the Sask First Top 80 (Gazette photo by Terry Pugh)

Several area hockey players have been recognized as being among the best in their age group after competing in the Sask First Top 160 tournament at the Co-operators Centre in Regina December 28-30.

Advancing to the Top 80  on defence is Calder Hamilton (Martensville) Martensville Marauders. The Marauders also have a number of forwards selected, including: Ramy Borowsky (Martensville), Sam Failler (RM of Dundurn), Ryder Hagel (Martensville), Cruz Harrison (Martensville), Sean Lavoie (Langham) and Dade Wotherspoon (Martensville).

Warman Wildcats Kade Kahovec (RM of Aberdeen) and Blake Chorney (Martensville) Northern Extreme U15 Prep are also among the forwards selected.

The Sask First program, implemented in 1988, is designed to provide a better understanding of the game as well as promote the development of quality players, coaches, trainers, officials and administrators.

Hockey Sask, in partnership with the Western Hockey League (WHL), team up for the Sask First Top 80 tournament coming up in Balgonie February 16-18, in which 2009-born players showcase their skills and compete against the best of the best. The top 80 players are divided into four teams and compete in round robin games. The top 25-30 players will be chosen to attend summer and fall camps to select the 20 final athletes to play on Team Saskatchewan at the 2024 WHL Cup in November.

Team Saskatchewan has enjoyed success recently, earning a bronze medal in the 2023 WHL Cup and a silver medal at the 2023 Canada Winter Games.