December 16, 2005
VANCOUVER (CP) - Canada will look to youth in attempting to defend its gold medal at the world junior hockey championship.
The world under-20 tournament is considered a showcase of a country's best 19-year-olds. But half the players on Canada's 22-man roster announced Friday are 18 years old and 17-year-old forward Jonathan Toews was also named to the team.
Canada opens the 2006 world junior hockey championship against Finland on Dec. 26 at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.
|Justin Pogge is expected to be Canada's No.1 Goalie at the World Juniors. |
Maple Leafs prospect 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 forwards are North Dakota's Toews, Steve Downie of the Peterborough Petes, Michigan's Andrew Cogliano, Blake Comeau of the Kelowna Rockets, Dustin Boyd of the Moose Jaw Warriors, Kyle Chipchura of the Prince Albert Raiders, David Bolland of the London Knights, Guillaume Latendresse of the Drummondville Voltigeurs, 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.
Chipchura was named captain of the team with alternates to rotate between Barker, Bolland, Bourdon and Comeau.
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.
Players released Friday morning were goaltenders Julien Ellis and Carey Price, defencemen 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.