CALGARY, ALBERTA - Twenty-two of Canada's best young hockey players have been named to Canada's National Under 18 Team, the Canadian Hockey Association announced on Thursday.
The players were selected by the CHA's Director of Scouting, Barry Trapp who saw over 180 hockey games last season in every area of Canada, evaluating players for the National Under 18 Program as well as the National Junior Team Program.
The 2000 National Under 18 Team is comprised entirely of players born in 1983. The Under 18 National team is part of a three stage Program of Excellence beginning with the under 17 regional teams and ending with the World Junior team. The primary objectives of the under 18 program are to identify, evaluate and condition players to the rigours of international competition by giving them their first exposure to international hockey, international officiating, larger ice surfaces, and travel.
Two players of note born in 1983 will not be with the 2000 National Under 18 Team. Defenceman Jay Bouwmeester and forward Jason Spezza will be participating in the National Junior Team's Evaluation Camp from August 3-10 in Calgary, AB. Both players played for Canada at the 2000 World Junior Hockey Championship.
The 2000 National Under 18 roster includes the WHL's Playoff MVP, goaltender Dan Blackburn of the Kootenay ICE, the OHL's Rookie of the Year, Derek Roy of the Kitchener Rangers as well as the Top Scorer at the 2000 World Under 17 Challenge in Timmins ON, Stephen Weiss of the OHL's Plymouth Whalers. Twenty-one of the twenty-two players played in the Canadian Hockey League last season, with the other playing in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
Twenty of the twenty-two players have prior experience in the CHA's Program of Excellence, having played at the 2000 World Under 17 Challenge over the Christmas holidays last year in Timmins, ON.
The team will gather in Calgary, AB on August 8th for a three day training camp with Head Coach Ken Babey of the SAIT Trojans and assistants Christian La Rue of the QMJHL's Moncton Wildcats and Rich Brown of the OHL's Sarnia Sting. On August 11th, the team will depart for Europe where they will play three exhibition games in the Czech Republic followed by the Four Nations Under 18 Tournament in Slovakia, featuring players from Canada, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and the USA. The Four Nations Tournament runs from August 18-20.