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Alzner, Hickey to lead Western Hockey League against Russians @NHL

CALGARY - Top NHL draft picks Karl Alzner and Thomas Hickey headline the Western Hockey League's roster for its leg of the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge.

Hickey of the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Calgary Hitmen's Alzner were drafted fourth and fifth overall in this year's NHL entry draft by the Los Angeles Kings and the Washington Capitals respectively.

The defencemen were among the 31 players named to the WHL's rosters Thursday for the final two games of the six-game series against their Russian counterparts.

The WHL concludes the circuit Nov. 28 in Cranbrook, B.C., and Nov. 29 in Medicine Hat, Alta., after stops in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League.

Hickey and Alzner played for the Canadian junior team that went 7-0-1 against Russia in the Super Series in August and September.

Others players who represented Canada in that Super Series and named to the WHL roster Thursday were: Zach Hamill (Everett Silvertips), Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge Hurricanes), Brandon Sutter (Red Deer Rebels), Dana Tyrell (Prince George Cougars), Colton Gillies (Saskatoon Blades), Luke Schenn (Kelowna Rockets), Ty Wishart (Prince George), Logan Pyett (Regina Pats) and Leland Irving (Everett).

Hockey Canada head scout Al Murray and a group of WHL general managers chose the players for the WHL roster.

They are all eligible (born in 1988 or later) to play for Canada at the 2008 world under-20 men's hockey championship in the Czech Republic starting Dec. 26.

Murray will invite between 35 and 40 players from the Canadian Hockey League and U.S. colleges to a selection camp for the junior team in December.

The ADT Canada-Russia Challenge was introduced in 2003 and the Canadian Hockey League is 21-3 overall against Russia in the event. The WHL has never lost a game in it and outscored the opposition 47-11.

The WHL team will be coached by Curtis Hunt of the Regina Pats, who will be an assistant to Craig Hartsburg on the Canadian junior team in the Czech Republic.

Hunt's assistants on the WHL squad will be Don Hay of the Vancouver Giants and Wil Desjardins of the Medicine Hat Tigers.

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