VANCOUVER (CP) - Canada will look to youth in attempting to defend its gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championship and two Canadiens prospects will be there for the ride.
After missing out on the 2005 World Juniors with a severed Achilles tendon, Kyle Chipchura of the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) was not only named to the roster but he was also named the team's captain. The Canadiens' first round pick (18th overall) at the 2004 NHL Draft leads the Raiders with 26 points in 30 games this season.
Drummondville Voltigeurs left-wing Guillaume Latendresse was also among the 22 names on head coach Brent Sutter's roster. The Canadiens' second-round selection (45th overall) at the 2005 NHL Draft, Latendresse has 22 goals and 41 points in 26 games with Drummondville this season, for including a team-leading 22 goals.
The other forwards are North Dakota's Jonathan Toews, Steve Downie of the Peterborough Petes, Michigan's Andrew Cogliano, Blake Comeau of the Kelowna Rockets, Dustin Boyd of the Moose Jaw Warriors, David Bolland of the London Knights, Boston College's Dan Bertram, Tom Pyatt of the Saginaw Spirit, Sudbury's Benoit Pouliot and Michael Blunden and Ryan O'Marra of the Erie Otters.
Canada opens the 2006 world junior hockey championship against Finland on Dec. 26 at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.
Justin Pogge of the Calgary Hitmen and Devan Dubnyk of the Kamloops Blazers will be Canada's goaltenders.
Marc Staal of the Sudbury Wolves, Ryan Parent of the Guelph Storm, Luc Bourdon and Kristopher Letang of the Val-d'Or Foreurs, Cam Barker and Kris Russell of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Sasha Pokulok of Cornell are the defencemen selected.
The Canadian blue-line is particularly young with five of the seven defenceman just 18.
The 22-man roster includes four players from college ranks, more than in previous years.
While many players on this team have played for Canada internationally at the under-18 level, the squad lacks experience at the under-20 tournament.
Barker is the lone returning player from the team that won gold in Grand Forks, N.D., in January and he was unable to finish the tournament due to a bout of mononucleosis.
The youngest goaltender at the selection camp, 18-year-old Carey Price will have to wait until next year for a chance to play in the World Junior Championships as the Canadiens' first round pick (fifth overall) in this summer's NHL draft was among 11 players released Friday morning. Others not named to the roster were goaltender Julien Ellis, defensemen Michael Funk, Andy Rogers, Jeff Schultz, Logan Stephenson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and forwards Derick Brassard, Kris Chucko, Angelo Esposito, Bryan Little and Devin Setoguchi.
Canada and Finland are in Group A with the U.S., Switzerland and Norway and those games will be played at Pacific Coliseum.
Russia, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Slovakia and Latvia are in Group B and will play their preliminary games in Kamloops and Kelowna, B.C. The medal-round games will be held at GM Place.
The Canadian team was to head to Chase, B.C., on Friday for a pre-competition camp. Canada plays exhibition games Tuesday against the Czech Republic in Kelowna and Thursday against Russia in Kamloops before returning to Vancouver.
Heather Engel, Site Assistant for canadiens.com, contributed to this report.