CALGARY, ALBERTA – Forty-four of Canada's best junior-aged hockey players (born in 1986 and 1987) have been invited to attend Canada's National Junior Team Development Camp, Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League announced on Thursday. The 2005 National Junior Team Development Camp will be held in Whistler, BC, August 10-15, 2005. Vancouver, Kelowna and Kamloops, BC will host the 2006 IIHF World Junior Championship, December 26, 2005 – January 5, 2006.
Returning Head Coach Brent Sutter will be overseeing his second straight National Junior Team Development Camp and will be joined by assistant coaches Craig Hartsburg (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) and Clement Jodoin (Lewiston, QMJHL). The schedule and details regarding the August camp in Whistler will be announced at a later date.
The forty-four players, including two players from Canada’s gold medal winning 2005 National Junior team (Cam Barker and Sidney Crosby), were selected by Hockey Canada's Director, Player Personnel, Blair Mackasey, who spent the 2004-05 season monitoring and evaluating the top Canadian junior-aged players. Mackasey and the coaching staff will oversee player evaluation at the August Camp and will continue to monitor these players and other eligible players during the 2005-2006 season. A list of players will then be invited to attend Canada's final Selection Camp in December, 2005 (location/dates TBD).
“There are only two returning players from the 2005 gold medal team and as a result, the camp will have a completely different dynamic with so many open spots” said Blair Mackasey. “The Development camp gives us a unique opportunity to look at our top 19 year olds and assess some of our top young prospects. It will be a very intense and competitive camp and will be exciting for all those involved.”
Forty-one of the forty-four players played in the Canadian Hockey League last season: 17 in the Western Hockey League (WHL), 13 in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and 11 in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Two players (Dan Bertram and Kris Chucko) played in the NCAA and one player (Andrew Cogliano) played Junior A in the OPJHL.
Hockey Canada Program of Excellence experience breakdown – Canada’s National Junior Team August development camp:
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 Canada's most gifted young hockey players, to encourage and motivate them to play for their country and to provide them with the opportunities to measure and refine their skills against top caliber international competition.
Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence identifies players in specific age categories and provides them with an opportunity to take part in international competitions, preparing them for the World Junior Hockey Championship, the World Hockey Championship and the Olympic Games. In Men's hockey, the POE regroups the Regional Under-17 teams, the National Under-18 teams, the National Junior team and the National Men's teams. Sixteen of the 23 players who won gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics got their start playing for Canada in the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence.