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Irving named to Team Canada

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames


CALGARY (CP) - Calgary Flames goaltending prospect Leland Irving was named one of Team Canada's goaltenders for the upcoming World Junior Championship in Sweden.

Team Canada made its final cuts on Friday morning before flying to Finland and Irving, along with Tri-City American goalie Carey Price are the two goaltenders.

Team Canada Roster

The team did not disclose which goalie is considered No. 1 and will wait until Canada plays exhibition games un Europe before making a decision.

"It will be a fun battle," said Irving, chosen by the Flames in the first round in the NHL Entry Draft last June. "The important thing is whoever is in there is getting the job done."

Kristopher Letang was named captain of the Canadian junior hockey team.

The Val-d'Or Foreurs defenceman will lead the 22 players named to the squad Friday into the 2007 world junior championships in Leksand and Mora, Sweden. Canada will chase a third straight gold in the world junior tournament and opens defence of its title Dec. 26 in Leksand against the host Swedes.

Letang, a Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick, is one of 11 players on the team that won gold in the 2006 tournament in Vancouver.

Head coach Craig Hartsburg named four alternate captains who will rotate: Steve Downie of the Peterborough Petes, Jonathan Toews of the University of North Dakota, Marc Staal of the Sudbury Wolves and Tom Pyatt of the Saginaw Spirit.

Six players were released Friday morning to conclude selection camp in Calgary, leaving two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards on the team of mostly 19-year-olds.

London Knights forward Sam Gagner is the youngest on the team at 17.

Toews, Irving, who plays for the Everett Silvertips, Calgary Hitmen defenceman Karl Alzner and forward Brad Marchand of the Val-d'Or Foreurs are all 18.

The world junior tournament is considered a showcase of a country's best 19-and-under players.

The Canadian team was scheduled to fly to Helsinki later Friday.

Canada will play an exhibition game there Dec. 20 against Finland and another Dec. 22 in Stockholm against the Swedes.

Thirty-nine players were invited to the camp.

Goaltenders Jonathan Bernier of the Lewiston Maineiacs and Steve Mason of the London Knights, defencemen Dustin Kohn of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Brendan Mikkelson of the Vancouver Giants and forwards Claude Giroux of the Gatineau Olympiques and Cody Bass of the Mississauga IceDogs were released Friday, following 11 players who were cut Thursday.


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