CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), opens the inaugural national under-17 development camp Monday at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary. The camp will run from July 29 to Aug. 4.
The roster brings together 108 players from across Canada born in 1998, including 12 goaltenders, 36 defencemen and 60 forwards.
Hockey Canada, along with the CHL, also announced that Kelly Nobes (West Hill, Ont./McGill University, OUA) has been named the head coach of one of the three Canadian entries for the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Nobes replaces Jean-François Houle, who accepted a head coaching position with the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors.
In addition, Hockey Canada and the CHL announced that Bruce Richardson (Montreal, Que./Victoriaville, QMJHL) has been added as an assistant coach to work with Nobes.
The players invited to camp were selected by Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada's head scout of men's national teams, together with regional scouts Donald Audette (Quebec), Brad McEwen (West), Kevin Mitchell (Atlantic) and Kyle Raftis (Ontario), with input from Hockey Canada branch representatives. Players were evaluated throughout the season with their club teams, and at three regional under-16 events: the Western Canada U16 Challenge, OHL Gold Cup and QMJHL Excellence Challenge.
The development camp includes numerous on-ice and off-ice sessions, and a series of intraquad games. The camp serves as part of Canada’s new under-17 structure, focusing on player development. Scouts will continue to watch these players, along with other 1998-born players across the country, and 66 will be selected to represent Canada at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, which is scheduled for Nov. 2-8 in Sarnia, Ont. The tournament will be the first to feature three Canadian national teams (Black, Red and White). From 1986 to 2014, Canada was represented by five regional teams: Atlantic, Ontario, Pacific, Quebec and West.
The 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will bring together the top players in the world born in 1998 or later. The under-17 program is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. Many players who compete at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge go on to represent Canada with Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team, National Junior Team and National Men’s Team.
Since the first under-17 tournament (then known as the Quebec Esso Cup) in 1986, more than 1,300 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including 11 of the last 14 first-overall selections (Ilya Kovalchuk, 2001; Rick Nash, 2002; Marc-André Fleury, 2003; Alexander Ovechkin, 2004; Erik Johnson, 2006; Patrick Kane, 2007; John Tavares, 2009; Taylor Hall, 2010; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011; Nathan MacKinnon, 2013; Aaron Ekblad, 2014).