CALGARY, AB -- Canadian Hockey and the Canadian Hockey League announced Tuesday that the selection camp for the National Junior Team that will defend its title at the 1998 World Junior Hockey Championship in Helsinki, Finland will be held at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex from Dec. 12-17.
"It's critical for the team's preparation and success in the tournament that we have an outstanding venue to properly evaluate and train our players," said Denis Hainault, Canadian Hockey's director of high performance programs. "The Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex provides an ice pad of international size and is a superb facility run by experienced professionals who are familiar with Canadian Hockey's needs. We're very pleased to be returning to Kitchener for this camp."
The National Junior Team's selection camp was held in Kitchener in 1996 also, and the Auditorium was home to the very successful 1997 Women's World Hockey Championship. Canadian Hockey also looks forward to working with the staff of the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, whose help was invaluable at the 1996 camp, Hainault said.
"The city of Kitchener is proud to welcome Canada's National Junior Team's selection camp for a second straight year," said Keith Baulk, manager of the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex. "We're confident the Complex will provide a high-quality training environment to help prepare them for the 1998 World Junior Championship."
Hainault said 30 of Canada's best junior players will be invited to the selection camp, which will include two Red and White intra-squad games as well as two exhibition games. Head coach Real Paiement, who coaches the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, along with assistants Rick Carriere (Red Deer Rebels, Western Hockey League) and Peter DeBoer (Plymouth Whalers, Ontario Hockey League), as well as Barry Trapp, Canadian Hockey's director of scouting, will select a 22-player roster that will travel to Sweden on Dec. 17.
The National Junior Team will hold a six-day pre-competition camp in Sweden, including exhibition games against Sweden and Switzerland before travelling to Helsinki for the world tournament on Dec. 24. Canada will be attempting to win a sixth consecutive World Junior Hockey Championship at the Helsinki tournament, which runs from Dec. 25-Jan..