World Junior Hockey Championship Preview: Team Canada
Looking at team Canada this year one thing comes to mind: inexperience. Of the 31 players invited to camp, which begins on December 12, only two of those are returning players. Jesse Wallin and Cory Sarich, both defensemen in the Western Hockey League are the two returnee’s that will help Team Canada go for their 6th stright gold this Christmas. Usually there are five or six returning players, which only two this poses a small problem for Head Coach Real Paiement. He is please with the talent invited to camp, and feels that there will be no problem.
Team Canada looks at the Ontario Hockey League for talent and players this year with 11 players from the OHL including Daniel Tkaczuk of the Barrie Colts, Sean Blanchard of the Ottawa 67’s and Scott Barney of the Peterborough Petes. Richard Jackman of the Soo Greyhounds was not invited to the camp in Kitchener due to a curfew violation. For goaltending Canada once again looks at the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, with it’s repuation for churning out great french-Canadian goalies. Most will be looking forward to seeing Vincent Lecavalier, the top ranked prospect, in action. On December 17, the roster will be trimmed down to 2 goalies, 7 defensemen, and 17 forwards and the team will head to Sweden for a six-day pre-competition camp.
Canadian Hockey also looked at the NHL for help, the Chicago Blackhawks released LW, Daniel Cleary and he will be joining the team. There is a chance that number one over-all draft pick, Joe Thornton will also be returning to the junior ranks along with centre, Boyd Devereaux, and Patick Marleau. But these players will have to be released before camp begin or else they will not be permitted to attend.
During the 6 day training camp, Team Canada will play two red and while intra-squad games on December 13 and 14 and an exhibition game on the 15th.The World Junior Hockey Championships begins on December 25th and runs until January 3 in Helsinki, Finland. We will see if Canadian junior hockey continues to dominate or if it is time for someone else to be on top.