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2012 World Junior Championship

Blais' leadership will be key for 2012 WJC

Thursday, 12.15.2011 / 11:14 AM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

How important is a first impression?

Forward Derek Stepan was sold the minute coach Dean Blais established his game plan for the U.S. National Junior Team in the weeks leading up to the 2010 World Junior Championship.

Stepan was captain of the team that would win the country's second WJC gold medal by defeating Canada on home soil, in overtime in the gold-medal game. Stepan said he'll always consider the victory in the title game as one of the greatest accomplishments of his hockey career -- and he credits Blais for much of that success.

Three Habs' prospects make Team Canada for WJC

Wednesday, 12.14.2011 / 5:52 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- First, they became Canadiens. Now a trio of Montreal Canadiens' prospects are members of Team Canada.

Michael Bournival of the Shawinigan Cataractes will join Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and Brendan Gallagher of the Vancouver Giants in Canada's quest for gold at the 2012 World Junior Championship. All three survived Canada's final cuts Wednesday morning and were named to the 22-man roster that will open the tournament against Finland on Dec. 26.

The thought of playing alongside future teammates in Montreal excites Gallagher.

"It's going to be really exciting," said Gallagher, who has 24 goals and 46 points with the Giants this season. "Obviously we've grown up together in the Habs' system and we've got to spend some camps together. For the three for us to play on this team together it'll be really special and something we talk about for years to come."

Canada makes final cuts for WJC team

Wednesday, 12.14.2011 / 5:45 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

Canada's entry into the 2012 World Junior Championship this month in Alberta has taken form.

Twenty-two of the country's most promising junior-age players have been selected in what coach Don Hay hopes will be a gold medal-winning hockey club.

"Everything is 'gold or nothing' here right now," Hay said. "That's the way Canada thinks. There is no rule we deserve gold every year. We want to win gold medals, but we don't have a lock on gold medals."

Swiss ready to roll without Niederreiter

Tuesday, 12.13.2011 / 8:03 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Forward Sven Bärtschi highlights a list of seven returning players on the preliminary 33-man roster attending camp for Team Switzerland this week in preparation for the 2012 World Junior Championship in Calgary and Edmonton, Alta.
The 25 players from European teams will train in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and a first cut will be made by the end of this week. Switzerland head coach Manuele Celio will then travel with the team to Red Deer on Dec. 17 to continue the evaluation process. The club will play two exhibition games against Team USA on Dec. 21 in Camrose and Canada on Dec. 22 in Red Deer before paring the roster down to 22 players.
Bärtschi, who was chosen 13th by the Calgary Flames in the opening round of the 2011 Draft, is currently fifth in the Western Hockey League in scoring with 54 points, including 42 assists, for the Portland Winterhawks. New York Islanders prospect and Swiss native Nino Niederreiter, this highest draft pick from Switzerland (No. 5, 2010), will not join his country for a third tour of duty at the WJC. Niederreiter suffered a concussion after a hit to the head from Dallas' Mark Fistric on Dec. 3.

Pearson pressing for spot on Canada

Tuesday, 12.13.2011 / 4:23 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

Tanner Pearson is vying for a spot with Team Canada. (Photo: OHL Images)
CALGARY -- During his quest to compose a selection camp roster for Hockey Canada's 2012 World Junior Championship entry, head scout Kevin Prendergast admitted there were players across the country that surprised him.

Perhaps no one surprised him more than Tanner Pearson of the Barrie Colts.

"There's always a couple of them, but I think the one guy that came out of nowhere on the radar is Pearson from Barrie," Prendergast said when Canada unveiled the camp roster last month. "He's had an outstanding year. He forced his way in here."

Prendergast can be forgiven for not having Pearson on his radar before the season. As an 18-year-old a season ago, Pearson had just 15 goals.

Connolly sorry hit left Howden injured

Tuesday, 12.13.2011 / 10:33 AM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- Team Canada coach Don Hay wanted to see forward Brett Connolly play more physical.

Unfortunately, he got what he asked for.

On Monday, midway through the second period of Canada's second intra-squad game here at Hockey Canada's National Junior Evaluation Camp, Connolly hammered Quinton Howden along the boards. Howden, a 2010 first-round pick of the Florida Panthers, struggled to get to his feet after the hit and stumbled before getting to the bench. He was taken to the dressing room immediately and did not return to the game. After the game, Hockey Canada announced Howden had an upper-body injury.

Dumba among seven cut from Canada WJC camp

Tuesday, 12.13.2011 / 9:56 AM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- Seven players were returned to their junior teams as Hockey Canada made its initial cuts from this week's National Junior Evaluation Camp.

The move leaves the initial 42-player roster at 35. The final 22-player roster for the 2012 World Junior Championship will be named Wednesday.

Defensemen Jerome Gauthier-Leduc of the Rimouski Oceanic, Brenden Kichton of the Spokane Chiefs and Mathew Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels, and forwards Max Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice, the Brandon Wheat Kings' Michael Ferland, Mark McNeill of the Prince Albert Raiders and Zack Phillips of the Saint John Sea Dogs were the players sent home.

Visentin a lock to be Canada's starter

Monday, 12.12.2011 / 9:51 AM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- Hockey Canada's National Junior Team Selection Camp is only one day old, but coach Don Hay appears to have found his starting goaltender.
The Niagara Ice Dogs' Mark Visentin, who backstopped Canada at the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, appears to be a lock to start in Canada's goal as the national junior team searches for its first gold medal since 2009.
"He comes in as the No. 1 guy and we'd like to see him play like that," Hay said. "He was very good in our summer camp, so I feel he can continue to do that job."
Visentin, taken by the Phoenix Coyotes with the 27th pick of the 2010 Entry Draft, isn't about to take anything for granted.

Connolly, Smith-Pelly surprised to be camping in Canada

Sunday, 12.11.2011 / 6:12 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

The Anaheim Ducks may have caught forward Devante Smith-Pelly a little off guard when the NHL club released him to participate in Hockey Canada's National Junior Team Selection Camp for the upcoming World Junior Championship.

With two of his three goals and three of his five points on the season all coming in Anaheim's last five games, the 19-year-old Smith-Pelly was starting to find his groove in the National Hockey League under new coach Bruce Boudreau.

"We did get a new coach and a lot of things did change," said Smith-Pelly, whose ice time increased under Boudreau. "I was starting to put up some points and get a little more responsibility. I was starting to get a little more confident up there with the puck and make some plays."

Spooner out of Canada's WJC camp

Saturday, 12.10.2011 / 1:00 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Ryan Spooner, a 2010 second-round pick by the Boston Bruins, will not attend Canada's selection camp for the upcoming 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship because he has been diagnosed with mononucleosis, Hockey Canada announced Saturday.

Spooner has 14 goals and 32 points in 27 games for the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League this season. He had 25 goals and 62 points in 50 games last season for Kingston.

Hockey Canada will not add a replacement for Spooner, so 42 players will at the camp. The world junior tournament will be played in Calgary and Edmonton this year, and it begins Dec. 26.
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