Abbotsford’s Graham Sward was recognized by Hockey Canada recently. (Spokane Chiefs photo)

Abbotsford’s Graham Sward recognized by Hockey Canada

Spokane Chiefs defender received invite to U-18 camp cancelled by COVID-19

Abbotsford’s Graham Sward was recently recognized as an invitee to Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 team selection camp.

The Yale Hockey Academy product spent the 2019-20 season with the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs, collecting 17 points in 55 games. It was his first full season with the club.

Sward spent two seasons with the YHA and then played one season with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds. He was drafted by the Chiefs in round one, 17th overall in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft.

RELATED: Abbotsford hockey talent drafted by WHL teams

Sward was one of 12 WHL players invited to the camp and receive a chance to represent Canada at the 2020 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, which was scheduled for August 3 to 8 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., before it was cancelled April 28 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

He will unfortunately not be eligible to compete at the 2021 event, as he will be over 18 next year.

“It is important for Hockey Canada to recognize the work the players and coaching staff already put in to prepare for the summer and a chance to compete for gold on home ice,” said Scott Salmond, senior vice-president of national teams for Hockey Canada. “It was a difficult decision to cancel the tournament, as it provides the opportunity to showcase the top under-18 players in a best-on-best international showcase. We want to recognize the 46 players and our three coaches for this tremendous accomplishment, and we look forward to watching all players continue to develop as they look ahead to next season and a chance to compete at the IIHF U18 World Championship.”

Sward is eligible for the National Hockey League draft in 2021.

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