CALGARY, ALBERTA - Thirty-four of Canada's best young hockey players have been invited to Canada's National Under 18 Team Summer Team Development Camp that will run from August 1-8, 2002 in Calgary, AB, the Canadian Hockey Association and the Canadian Hockey League announced on Friday.
Twenty-two of the thirty-four players will be part of the National Under 18 Summer Team, which participates in the Eight Nations Tournament in August, 2002. All thirty-four players will be eligible for the National Under 18 World Championship Team, which will be made up of players whose teams are not involved in their league's playoffs at the time of the team's selection for the World Championship in April 2003.
Canada has participated in an August Under 18 Tournament in Europe since 1997, capturing gold at all five events. The coaching staff led by Jim Hulton, of the OHL's Belleville Bulls, will guide the team through an eight-day Development Camp at the end of which 22 players will be selected to represent Canada in the Eight Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, from August 12-18, 2002.
For a second consecutive year, Canada will participate in two major international Under 18 events this season. Canada will play in it's second ever IIHF World Under 18 Championship in April, 2003 in Russia along with 9 other countries. The coaching staff for the World Under 18 Team will be named at a later date.
The CHA's Head Scout, Blair Mackasey, along with the coaching staff, will oversee the evaluation of the 34 players named to the National Under 18 Team Development Camp and the selection of the roster for the Eight Nations Event in Europe.
The 2002-2003 National Under 18 Team is comprised entirely of players born in 1985. 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 National Junior team. The primary objectives of the under 18 program are to identify, evaluate and condition players to the rigors of international competition by giving them their first exposure to international hockey, international officiating, larger ice surfaces, and travel.
The 2002 National Under 18 roster includes defenceman Braydon Coburn of the Portland Winterhawks, the WHL's Rookie-of-the-Year in 2001-2002, forward Benoit Mondou of the QMJHL's Baie Comeau Drakkar, the QMJHL's Rookie-of-the-Year in 2001-2002 and forward Nathan Horton, of the OHL's Oshawa Generals who led all Canadian scorers at the 2002 World Under 17 Challenge in Manitoba. Thirty-three of the thirty-four players played in the Canadian Hockey League last season, with one playing in the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League.
Thirty-one of the thirty-four players have prior experience in the CHA's Program of Excellence, having played at the 2002 World Under 17 Challenge over the Christmas holidays last year in Selkirk and Stonewall, Manitoba.
The team will gather in Calgary, AB on August 1st for an eight day training camp with Head Coach Hulton and assistants Rick Allain of the OHL's Peterborough Petes and Dean Chynoweth of the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds. On August 9th, 22 of the 34 players will depart for Europe where they will take part in the Eight Nations Under 18 Tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, featuring players from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Sweden and the United States. The Eight Nations Tournament runs from August 12-18.
The CHA also confirmed the National Under 18 Summer Team support staff, including equipment manager, Ross Hammond (Guelph, OHL), Physiotherapist Patrick Leroux (Sherbrooke, QMJHL) and Team Doctor, Dr. Michel Parayre (Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL).