CALGARY, AB - Canada's National Junior team policy committee ruled on Monday that Plymouth Whalers forward Stephen Weiss will be eligible to be identified and potentially selected to participate in the 2002 World Junior selection camp in December, the Canadian Hockey Association (CHA) and Canadian Hockey League (CHL) jointly announced.
The NJT policy committee is made up of five members and consists of CHA president Bob Nicholson, vice-chair Allan Morris, CHA Officer, and the three Canadian Hockey League commissioners - David Branch of the CHL and OHL, Ron Robison of the Western Hockey League and Gilles Courteau of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Weiss, who chose to forego Canada's National Junior team's August development camp in Calgary, AB, was originally ruled ineligible to be considered for this year's World Juniors due to a policy that stated all players must attend the summer camp, with the exception of those that have participated for Canada at least two prior World Junior Championships. Weiss participated internationally for Canada at the Under 17 and Under 18 levels, and attended last year's December National Junior team selection camp, but did not make the final team.
After Weiss chose not to attend the summer camp, Nicholson and the National Junior Team policy committee informed Weiss, his agent Pat Morris and the Florida Panthers, who own his NHL rights, that he would not be considered for this winter's World Junior team, as per policy.
A formal appeal to the NJT policy committee was received last week from the Plymouth Whalers, on behalf of Weiss. The policy committee held numerous meetings, which caused them to consider certain alterations to existing policies, while at the same time, adapt new policies for the National Junior team. The policy committee ruled that Weiss would be provided the opportunity to again be eligible to be considered for selection to the 2002 World Junior Team for Canada.
"The policy committee reviewed the Whalers letter of appeal, and after speaking directly with Stephen, we were impressed by his commitment to pursue playing for his country", said Bob Nicholson, CHA President and Chair of the NJT policy committee. "The policies of the National Junior team must be consistent for all players and for what is best for the preparation of Canada's team, therefore we have evaluated and decided to make adjustments and additions to policy, which we feel will enhance the National Junior Team program."
Effective immediately, Canada's National Junior Policy Committee has approved the following policies for future National Junior teams:
upon being invited to a Canadian National Junior team annual summer development camp, all players must attend the camp. (In the past, players that had participated in at least two World Junior Championships had the option not to attend)
upon being invited to Canada's National Junior team summer development camp, if a player is injured prior to the camp, he still must attend the camp (the duration of the player's stay at the camp would be decided by the Head Coach, and would depend upon the type of injury and the schedule)
all National Junior team policies will be officially sent to all NHL and CHL team General Managers, as well as to all players that are invited to any summer development camp
Canada's National Junior team summer development camp will be held in the middle of August (August 10-20) annually, instead of the first part of August (1-10) as in the past. The policy committee feels that these dates fits better with individual player's conditioning programs and will enhance the quality of the summer development camp evaluations for Canada's National Junior team