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McNeill among seven cut from Canada WJC camp

by Staff Writer / Chicago Blackhawks

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.

"I really wanted to make this team," said Dumba, the youngest player in camp and a leading 2012 NHL Draft prospect. "It was really hard to wake up this morning and pack my stuff up. Emotional, but I'll get through it. Just the experience is great."

Players were given the news at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

"It sunk in pretty quick, as soon as I heard that phone ring," said McNeill, taken by the Blackhawks with the 18th pick of the 2011 draft. "You jump out of bed and your eyes kind of light up, but like I said, there's still an opportunity for me next year, for sure."

While going home is disappointing, the common thought of the seven players released from the team was that they felt better for having gone through the experience.

"I'm excited I was invited even, to be among the top 42," said Kichton, a 2011 fifth-round pick of the New York Islanders. "I'll take it how it is."

Phillips, taken No. 28 in June by the Minnesota Wild, agreed.

"I'm honored to be here," he said. "It's tough to just make the camp. It kind of sucks getting cut, but I'll wish the rest of the guys luck and hopefully they do well."

Author: Aaron Vickers | Correspondent

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