CALGARY, AB - Thirty-four of Canada's top players under 20 years old have been invited to Canada's 2003 National Junior Team Selection Camp December 11-16, 2002, at the Halifax (NS) Metro Centre, the Canadian Hockey Association and the Canadian Hockey League announced on Monday at www.canadianhockey.ca and at three press conferences in Calgary, Toronto and Halifax.
Team Canada's selection camp will serve to prepare and name the 22 players on Canada's roster for the 2003 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Halifax and Sydney, NS from to .
Additional players may be invited to the attend the selection camp, but as per the CHA's National Junior Team policy, additional player announcements must be made prior to the start of the selection camp ().
"Canadians can be very proud of the players assembled for this year's Selection Camp," said Bob Nicholson, President of the CHA. "In Canada, we are fortunate to have a great number of talented players to choose from and the players named today are great ambassadors for the country, their teams, their hometowns and their families.'
Of the thirty-four players named on Monday, four helped Canada capture a silver medal at last year's 2002 World Juniors in the Czech Republic: Defencemen Carlo Colaiacovo and Nathan Paetsch, and forwards Jay McClement and Scottie Upshall.
"I'm very pleased with the group of players that we have assembled for Selection Camp," said Blair Mackasey, the CHA's Head Scout who oversaw the player selection, travelling throughout Canada and the United States, scouting and evaluating the top Canadian players under 20 years of age. "I've had the opportunity over the past months to witness firsthand the depth of Canadian junior hockey talent. These players should be very proud and honoured to be named to attend selection camp, with a chance to represent Canada."
"As a coaching staff, we're looking forward to a very competitive camp," said Head Coach Marc Habscheid. "The process now begins, as there are only twenty-two spots available and thirty-four quality hockey players at camp, so we are expecting a very competitive event."
The selection camp roster breaks down as follows:
14 players from the Western Hockey League
11 from the Ontario Hockey League
7 from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League plus 1 on loan from the National Hockey League
1 player from the NCAA
Fifteen of the players have represented Canada in the past, as members of the Canada's National Under 18 team program. Twenty-two of the thirty-four players also have been involved in Canada's Regional Under 17 Program.
"The CHL is very proud to partner with the Canadian Hockey Association for the National Junior Team program," said David Branch, President of the Canadian Hockey League. "We are also very proud of the young men from our three leagues that have been invited to attend this year's selection camp, as well as the coaches and members of the support staff who are also products of the Canadian Hockey League. We look forward to joining our friends in Halifax and Sydney for the first ever World Junior Championship in Atlantic Canada."
Canada will be hosting the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship for the sixth time this year in Halifax, NS. Other years Canada has hosted were: 1999 (Winnipeg, MB), 1995 (Red Deer, AB), 1991 (Saskatoon, SK), 1986 (Hamilton, ON), 1978 (Montreal, QC).
In the 1990's, Canada captured seven gold medals, with a record five gold medals in a row from 1993-1997, and one silver medal in 1999. Canada is the only country to medal at the past four World Junior Championships, with silver medals in 19, and bronze medals in 20.
Details regarding Team Canada's selection camp, Dec. 11-16 in Halifax, NS are:
Daily Team Canada practices are free and open to the public (see attached schedule)
75$ ticket packages for 7 pre-Championship games at the Halifax Metro Centre are now on sale. The package includes two Team Canada Red-White Intersquad Games, two exhibition games Canada vs. Atlantic University Sport (AUS) All-Star Team, as well as three international exhibition games. Ticket packages can be purchased at the Halifax Metro Centre box office or charge by phone at 902-451-1221.