TORONTO -- The Canadian Hockey Association and the Canadian Hockey League announced Monday the list of 31 players invited to the selection camp in Kitchener, ON where Canada's National Junior Team will prepare for the 1998 World Junior Hockey Championship in Helsinki, Finland.
Canada has won a record five straight gold medals, from 1993-1997, and will aim to extend that streak when they play the host team, Finland, on Dec. 25 in Helsinki in the tournament's opening game. The Sports Network (TSN) and its sister-station in Quebec, RDS, will televise all of Canada's games, as well as the playoff round games, including the gold medal game.
The selection camp will be held at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex from Dec. 12-17. At that camp, the 31-players list will be trimmed to a 22-man roster for the World Junior Championship, which runs from Dec. 25-Jan. 3. The final roster will be announced in Kitchener on Wednesday, Dec. 17.
The 31-player roster includes two returning gold medalists, both defenceman from the Western Hockey League: Cory Sarich of the Saskatoon Blades and Jesse Wallin of the Red Deer Rebels. Of the four goaltenders, 10 defencemen and 17 forwards invited, 11 players each have been selected from the WHL and the Ontario Hockey League, seven from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, one from the U.S. college ranks and one from the National Hockey League.
Head coach Réal Paiement, of the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, will work with assistants Peter DeBoer of the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League and Terry Bangen, who also was an assistant coach with the gold medal-winning National Junior Team in 1996.
"Selecting the best 22-player team for the World Junior Championship is always a difficult process because the talent pool in Canada is so deep and because of the importance Canadians place on our country's performance in major international tournaments," said Bob Nicholson, Canadian Hockey's vice-president, hockey operations. "Our performance record demonstrates that our scouting system is sound. Our focus is not just on raw talent, but on other qualities players bring, such as leadership and the ability to work well in a true 'team' environment."
Paiement said he's pleased with the quality of the players selected.
"As a coaching staff, we're looking forward to step two of our process -- the selection camp," said Paiement. "The emphasis will be on putting forward a gold-medal performance, not on winning the gold medal. We've got a great tradition behind us and a great journey ahead of us and we're all excited about the challenge."
The six-day selection camp includes two Red and White intra-squad games, one on Dec. 13, the other on Dec. 14, as well as exhibition games against university all-star teams on Dec. 15 and Dec. 16. The National Junior Team leaves from Toronto on Dec. 17 for Sweden for a six-day pre-competition camp, which includes exhibition games against the Swedish National Junior Team on Dec. 20, as well as Switzerland on Dec. 21.
The National Junior Team coaching staff and Barry Trapp, Canadian Hockey's director of scouting, will evaluate the National Junior Team invitees over the course of the selection camp and decide which players will represent Canada in Finland.
"It's crucial to be able to develop excellent team chemistry quickly in a short-term experience such as the World Junior Hockey Championship," said Nicholson. "At this high and intense level of international competition with such a strong field of competitors, preparation is also a key factor for the World Junior Championship."
Canada's 1998 World Junior Selection Camp Roster
Kitchener, Ontario - December 12-
|Name||H/W||Birth Date||1997-98 Team||NHL Draft|
|Goaltenders/Gardiens de but|
|Roberto Luongo||6'2 185||Apr.||Val d'Or (LHJMQ)||NY Islanders|
|Patrick Desrochers||6'3 190||Oct.||Sarnia(OHL)||Eligible '98|
|Evan Lindsay||6'2 192||Prince Albert (WHL)||Calgary|
|Mathieu Garon||6'1 193||Jan.||Victoriaville (LHJMQ)||Montreal|
|Brad Ference||6'3 190||Apr.||Spokane (WHL)||Vancouver|
|Eric Brewer||6'3 196||Apr.||Prince George (WHL)||NY Islanders|
|Jesse Wallin||6'2 190||Mar.||Red Deer (WHL)||Detroit|
|Zenith Komarniski||6' 190||Aug.||Tri-City (WHL)||Vancouver|
|Sean Blanchard||6' 201||Mar.||Ottawa (OHL)||LA Kings|
|Brad Stuart||6'2 215||Nov.||Regina (WHL)||Eligible '98|
|Cory Sarich||6'3 190||Aug.||Saskatoon (WHL)||Buffalo|
|Mike Van Ryn||6'2 186||Michigan (CCHA)||Eligible '98|
|Nick Boynton||6'2 210||Jan.||Ottawa (OHL)||Washington|
|Remi Royer||6'2 200||Feb.||Rouyn (QMJHL)||Chicago|
|Manny Malhotra||6'1 210||Guelph (OHL)||Eligible '98|
|Dan Cleary||6' 200||Dec.||NHL||Chicago|
|Daniel Tkaczuk||6' 195||Barrie (OHL)||Calgary|
|Steve Bégin||6' 188||Val d'Or (LHJMQ)||Calgary|
|Matt Cooke||6'1 195||Sept.||Windsor (OHL)||Vancouver|
|Vincent Lecavalier||6'4 180||Apr.||Rimouski (QMJHL)||Eligible '98|
|Daniel Corso||5'10 161||Apr.||Victoriaville (LHJMQ)||St. Louis|
|Brett McLean||5'10 187||Aug.||Kelowna (WHL)||Dallas|
|Jean-Pierre Dumont||6' 195||Apr.||Val d'Or (LHJMQ)||NY Islanders|
|Jason Ward||6'2 193||Jan.||Niagara Falls (OHL)||Montreal|
|Josh Holden||6' 170||Jan.||Regina (WHL)||Vancouver|
|Brian Willsie||6' 179||Mar.||Guelph (OHL)||Colorado|
|Stefan Cherneski||6' 200||Sept.||Brandon (WHL)||NY Rangers|
|Jay Legault||6'4 206||London (OHL)||Anaheim|
|Matt Bradley||6'1 188||Kingston (OHL)||San Jose|
|Darren Van Oene||6'3 220||Jan.||Brandon (WHL)||Buffalo|
|Colin Pepperall||5'11 175||Apr.||Erie (OHL)||NY Rangers|
|Denis Hainault||Director, High Performance|
|Réal Paiement (QMJHL)||Head coach|
|Peter DeBoer (OHL)||Assistant Coach|
|Terry Bangen||Assistant Coach|
|Rob Cookson||Video coach|
|Barry Trapp||Director of scouting|
|Blaine Whyte||Equipment manager|
|Darcy Bishop||Athletic therapist|
|Dr. Donald Plouffe||Team physician|
|Wayne Halliwell||Sport psychologist|
|John MacKinnon||Manager, communications|