by Jason LaRose
April 5, 2014, CALGARY, Alta. (ISN) – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), announced Saturday the 22 players who have been invited to attend Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team training camp, April 5-8 at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto, Ont.
The roster includes three goaltenders, six defencemen and 13 forwards.
The camp in Toronto will serve as part of Canada’s preparations for the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, which will be held April 17-27 in Lapeenranta and Imatra, Finland. Canada is the defending champion at the world championship, having won its third gold medal last year in Sochi, Russia.
The players invited to camp, born in 1996 and 1997, were selected by Hockey Canada head scout Ryan Jankowski, in consultation with head coach Kevin Dineen (Toronto, Ont.) and assistant coaches Trevor Letowski (Thunder Bay, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) and Gord Murphy (Willowdale, Ont.). Jankowski evaluated the players during the 2013-14 season, following them along with numerous other candidates during league play, as well as during the 2013 and 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenges.
The camp roster includes eight players from the Western Hockey League, eight from the Ontario Hockey League and six from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In total, 13 players (three goaltenders, three defencemen and seven forwards) competed at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Victoriaville and Drummondville, Que., and eight players (two defencemen and six forwards) competed at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Cape Breton, N.S.
The roster also includes nine players (Sam Bennett, Julio Billia, Clark Bishop, Haydn Fleury, Mason McDonald, Roland McKeown, Brayden Point, Jake Virtanen and Spencer Watson) who helped Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team win the gold medal at the 2013 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia last summer.
Hockey Canada has invited select under-age players that will travel to Finland and play in pre-competition games to get added experience playing international competition, before returning to Canada prior to the start of the world championship. Players that have been eliminated from the CHL playoffs will be added to complete the roster for the tournament.
Canada will play two pre-tournament games before the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, April 11 against Finland and April 14 against Denmark. Canada opens the tournament April 17 against Sweden.