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Team Canada hopefuls

by Tyson Giuriato / Vancouver Canucks
Oh Canada.

Vancouver Canucks prospects Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk have been named to the 25-man roster for the upcoming Canadian World Junior Evaluation camp, which takes place December 13-15 in Toronto, Ontario.

The duo will be among 15 forwards at the camp vying for the 13 spots that Canada will take to Malmo, Sweden, for the tournament, which kicks-off on December 26th. The Canucks are one of only six NHL teams that saw two of their prospects named to the camp.

This isn’t Shinkaruk’s first rodeo as he went through this process last season only to be one of the last cuts at the camp.

“At the end of the day it was up to the coaching staff on that team and they felt I wasn’t good enough to make it or didn’t fit,” Shinkaruk told in July. “I felt like I had a good camp and gave myself every opportunity to make that team, but didn’t.”

Even though he was invited to the camp last season, there was still some excitement when he got the call from Hockey Canada head scout Ryan Jankowski on Monday morning.

“I was very excited,” said Shinkaruk Monday. “This is my last chance to play on the World Junior team and that’s what I want to do. I want to be on this team, prove myself as much as possible and win a gold medal for Canada. That’s my only goal right now and now I have the opportunity and it’s in my hands.”

Shinkaruk has been battling a bit of the injury bug as of late, and his stats aren’t Shinkaruk-like, to say the least. The Medicine Hat Tigers captain has posted 16 points (5-11-16) in 18 games this season, including just six points in 10 games during the month of November, which is a far cry from the 56 points he put up in 34 games during the month of November in his first three seasons. However, the injuries are healing and the Calgary, Alberta, product feels like he will be back to 100-percent in no time.

“I feel I am playing alright going into the camp,” said Shinkaruk, the Canucks 24th overall selection at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. “I have been battling a few injuries, but I feel like once my body will be 100-percent healthy I feel like there is no reason why I can’t earn a spot on that team and be one of the top players on that team.

“I just need to play my game; I need to use my speed and create offense.”

As for Horvat, this is his first kick at the can. The Canucks ninth overall pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft spent the morning waiting for his phone to ring, hoping for the call.

“I was waiting all morning for the phone call and once they actually called, it was a huge relief and a lot of excitement,” said Horvat. “They told me I was invited to the camp, to come to camp prepared and that they like my game.”

Horvat has been nothing short of sensational this season, posting 37 points (12-25-37) in 24 games for the London Knights, which included a 10-game point streak to start the month of November that saw him pick up 19 points (5-15-19).

“I think I am playing really well,” said Horvat. “It helps that our team is playing really well; we have a lot of guys that help me out along the way.”

Much like Shinkaruk, Horvat feels just playing the way he knows best will give him the best shot to make the team.

“I just need to play my game. Do what got me noticed and do what got me there. Hopefully they notice some aspects I bring to the game and I think I can really help the team out.”

If the dynamic duo should make the final roster, this will mark the first time since 1999 the Canucks will have multiple prospects on Team Canada. That year saw draft picks Brad Ference, Bryan Allen and Harold Druken capture the silver medal for Canada.

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