Red Deer defenseman Mathew Dumba and Belleville center Brendan Gaunce, two players expected to hear their names called early at the 2012 NHL Draft, were among the 20 players named Wednesday to Canada's team for the IIHF World Under-18 Championship, to be held April 12-22 in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic.
Dumba is No. 7 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for this year's draft. He was second among all Western Hockey League defensemen with 20 goals and sixth with 57 points this season for Red Deer.
CANADA U-18 ROSTER
DEFENSEMEN: Mathew Dumba, Red Deer (WHL), *Josh Morrissey, Prince Albert (WHL), *Darnell Nurse, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL), Adam Pelech, Erie (OHL), Damon Severson, Kelowna (WHL), Warren Steele, Kingston (OHL)
FORWARDS: Troy Bourke, Prince George (WHL), *William Carrier, Cape Breton (QMJHL), Brendan Gaunce, Belleville (OHL), Scott Kosmachuk, Guelph (OHL), Scott Laughton, Oshawa (OHL), *Anthony Mantha, Val-d'Or (QMJHL), **Sam Reinhart, Kootenay (WHL), *Kerby Rychel, Windsor (OHL), Gemel Smith, Owen Sound (OHL), Branden Troock, Seattle (WHL), Mike Winther, Prince Albert (WHL)
*- eligible for 2013 NHL Draft
**- eligible for 2014 NHL Draft
Gaunce, No. 11 in Central Scouting's midterm rankings, led Belleville with 28 goals and 68 points.
They're also two of six players in the top 40 of NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking -- Dumba, Gaunce, Owen Sound center Gemel Smith (No. 20), Guelph right wing Scott Kosmachuk (No. 23), Prince Albert center Mike Winther (No. 26), and Oshawa center Scott Laughton (No. 40).
Dumba and Gaunce will be making their second trip to the Czech Republic this season -- they joined Pelech, Laughton, Smith, and Windsor's Kerby Rychel as were part of Canada's team that won the gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in August.Of the 20 players picked for the team, 13 are eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft. Six of the other seven are eligible for the 2013 draft, among them Rychel. The youngest player on the team is highly regarded Kootenay forward Sam Reinhart, who will be part of the 2014 draft class.
Red Deer's Jesse Wallin will coach the team, with Prince Edward Island's Gord Dwyer and Kingston's Todd Gill serving as assistant coaches.
"As a coaching staff we are looking forward to getting together with the players we have chosen and working towards our goal of a gold medal for Canada," Wallin said. "A number of these players have previous international experience through the Program of Excellence at the under-17 and under-18 levels. That experience will prove invaluable in the Czech Republic."
Canada finished fourth at last year's tournament and has won just two gold medals at the event, the last coming in 2008.
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