CALGARY, AB – Thirty-four of Canada's top players under 20 years old have been invited to Canada's 2004 National Junior Team Selection Camp December 11-18, 2003, at the Kitchener (ON) Memorial Auditorium, Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League announced on Monday at www. hockeycanada.ca and at three press conferences in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.
Team Canada's selection camp will serve to prepare, evaluate and name the final 22 players on Canada's roster for the 2004 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Helsinki and Hameenlinna, Finland December 26, 2003 to January 5, 2004.
Additional players may be invited to attend the selection camp, but as per Hockey Canada's National Junior
Team policy, additional players must be in attendance for the start of the selection camp (December 11,
" Canada should be very proud of the group of young men that we've assembled for this year's World Junior Selection Camp," said Bob Nicholson, Hockey Canada's President. "The hundreds of thousands of volunteers involved in the game of hockey in Canada can take pride in the achievements and talents of the players named today, who are a testament to the great work that they are doing locally in developing hockey and hockey players in our country."
Two returning players from Canada's 2003 are among the 34 players named today. Forward Daniel Paillé and
defenceman Ian White helped Canada capture a silver medal at last year's 2003 World Juniors in Halifax,
" I'm very pleased with the group of players that will be competing at this year's Selection Camp," said Blair Mackasey, Hockey Canada's Head Scout who oversees the player selection of Canada's Under-18 and Junior teams, travelling throughout Canada and the United States, scouting and evaluating the top Canadian players under 20 years of age. "Over the past months, I've seen firsthand the depth of Canadian junior hockey talent in this country. These players should be very proud and honoured to be attending the selection camp, with a chance to represent Canada internationally."
" As a coaching staff, we're counting on a very competitive camp," said Head Coach Mario Durocher. "There are only twenty-two spots available and thirty-four quality hockey players at camp, so we are expecting these players to be giving their best from the moment they arrive in Kitchener."
Breakdown by Hockey Canada branch (8 of thirteen branches represented)
BCAHA - 3 Hockey Alberta - 5 Sask. Hockey Association – 3
Hockey Manitoba - 5 Hockey Northwestern Ont. – 2 Ontario Hockey Federation – 10
Hockey Québec – 4 Hockey Nova Scotia - 2
The selection camp roster also breaks down as follows:
"The Canadian Hockey League is very proud of the tradition of excellence that we have developed with Hockey Canada for our National Junior Team program," said David Branch, President of the CHL. "The young men who have been selected to compete in the final selection camp represent the very best Canadians that the CHL has to offer and we wish them all of the success that their hard work and determination brings. We are also very proud of the coaching staff and support personnel who come from our leagues to support Canada's aspirations for a gold medal at the World Junior Championship in Finland."
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 five World Junior Championships, with silver medals in 1999, 2002 and 2003, and bronze medals in 2000 and 2001.