CALGARY, ALBERTA – Forty-five of Canada’s best junior-aged hockey players (born prior to January 1, 1984), including seventeen NHL first round draft picks, will be at Calgary’s Father David Bauer Olympic Arena from August 9-18, 2003 for Canada’s National Junior Team Development Camp, Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League announced on Tuesday.
The forty-five players were selected by Hockey Canada’s Head Scout Blair Mackasey who spent the 2002-03 season monitoring and evaluating Canadian junior-aged players across Canada. Mackasey will oversee player evaluation at the August Camp and will continue to monitor these players and other eligible players throughout the upcoming hockey season prior to inviting a list of over 30 players to Canada’s National Junior Team's Selection Camp in December, 2003.
The 2004 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship will be held in Helsinki and Hameenlinna, Finland from December 26, 2003 through January 5, 2004.
The practices and intersquad games at the August Camp in Calgary are open to the public, free of charge, and will be under the direction of Head Coach Mario Durocher (Lewiston, QMJHL) and assistant coaches Dean Chynoweth (Seattle, WHL) and Jim Hulton (Kingston, OHL).
Three players (Marc-André Fleury, Daniel Paillé, Ian White) attending this camp were members of last year’s silver medal team in Halifax, NS at the 2003 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
Forty-three of the forty-five played in the Canadian Hockey League last season (20 in the Western Hockey League (WHL), 13 in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and 10 in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)). One player (Jeff Tambellini) played in the NCAA, and another (Brady Murray) played Junior "A" hockey in the BCHL.
Forty-one of the forty-five players at camp are drafted by NHL teams. One (Josh Gorges) was signed as a free agent by the San Jose Sharks last year while two players (Ryan Keller, James Sanford) are undrafted free agents.
Canada’s National Junior Team is a key component of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence (POE), which has been in operation since 1982. The POE allows Hockey Canada to identify and train many of Canada’s top young hockey players, to provide them with the opportunities to measure and refine their skills against top caliber Canadian players and in international competitions.