OTTAWA, ONTARIO - The Canadian Hockey Association (CHA) in conjunction with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) announced on Monday that Canada will be participating in the 2002 IIHF World Under 18 Hockey Championship from April 13-21, 2002 in Slovakia.
The IIHF has been staging a World Under 18 Hockey Championship since 1999 but Canada has not participated until now because many of Canadas top players in that age group are still playing with their club teams in April, when the event is staged.
With the collaboration of the CHL and its three member leagues (Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Western Hockey League), the CHA was able to gain entry to the event at the IIHF meetings in Hannover two weeks ago. Canada will only draw from Junior teams that are no longer in competition to make up the roster.
In preparation of Canadas first ever participation in the World Under 18 Championship, the CHA will invite 34 players to a selection camp that will run from August 1-10 in Toronto. Twenty-two players will then be selected to represent Canada in a six-nation tournament in the Czech Republic from August 12-20.
The CHAs scouting staff, under the direction of Director, Scouting, Barry Trapp, and comprised of three additional regional scouts, will monitor players at this tournament and in league play.
"The CHA is thrilled to be participating for the first time in the World Under 18 Hockey Championship," said Bob Nicholson, president of the CHA. "We will be aiming for the podium at this tournament but it also becomes an outstanding new component in the CHA's Program of Excellence, as we develop players for international competition.
"The Canadian Hockey League is proud of its association with the CHA and it's involvement in the CHA's Program of Excellence," said Dave Branch, President of the CHL. "The World Under 18 Championship will give Canada an opportunity to expose more young players to the international game."
The process will begin with the naming, in early June, of the National Under 18 Team coaching staff for the August camp and tournament. The National Junior Team Policy Committee will continue to meet and set out a plan for the naming of a World Under 18 coaching staff, and establishing a player selection process leading into the IIHF World Under 18 Hockey Championship.
The 2002 IIHF World Under 18 Championship in Slovakia will feature 12 teams. Russia captured the 2001 Championship on April 22, 2001 in Finland, by defeating Switzerland in the final.