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Canada invites 42 players to Hlinka tryout camp

by Adam Kimelman


GOALIES: Julio Billia, Chicoutimi (QMJHL); Payton Lee, Vancouver (WHL); Mason McDonald, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL); Brent Moran, Niagara (OHL)

DEFENSEMEN: Alexandre Carrier, Gatineau (QMJHL); Aaron Ekblad, Barrie (OHL); Haydn Fleury, Red Deer (WHL); Joe Hicketts, Victoria (WHL); Olivier LeBlanc, Saint John (QMJHL); Brycen Martin, Swift Current (WHL); Dysin Mayo, Edmonton (WHL); Roland McKeown, Kingston (OHL); Jacob Middleton, Ottawa (OHL); Carl Neill, Sherbrooke (QMJHL); Nelson Nogier, Saskatoon (WHL); Alex Peters, Plymouth (OHL); Ryan Pilon, Lethbridge (WHL); Jordan Thomson, Kamloops (WHL)

FORWARDS: Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Val-d'Or (QMJHL); Daniel Audette, Sherbrooke (QMJHL); Sam Bennett, Kingston (OHL); Clark Bishop, Cape Breton (QMJHL); Conner Bleackley, Red Deer (WHL); Damian Bourne, Mississauga (OHL); Rouke Chartier, Kelowna (WHL); Eric Cornel, Peterborough (OHL); Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa (OHL); Robby Fabbri, Guelph (OHL); Ryan Gropp, Penticton (BCHL); Jayce Hawryluk, Brandon (WHL); Brandon Lemieux, Barrie (OHL); Jaden Lindo, Owen Sound (OHL); Jared McCann, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL); Tanner MacMaster, Camrose (AJHL); Julien Nantel, Laval-Montreal (LHMAAAQ); Brendan Perlini, Niagara (OHL); Alexis Pepin, Charlottetown (QMJHL); Brayden Point, Moose Jaw (WHL); Reid Duke, Lethbridge (WHL); Collin Shirley, Kootenay (WHL); Jake Virtanen, Calgary (WHL); Spencer Watson, Kingston (OHL)

Two of the players expected to be among the top prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft were among 42 players invited by Hockey Canada to take part in a tryout camp for its entry into the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament.

The camp will be held July 25-29 at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto.

"These players are the cream of the crop of under-18 talent in Canada, and it's going to be exciting to see them battle for 22 roster spots," said Ryan Jankowski, head scout for Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence. "As it is every year, there were some tough decisions to get down to 42, and they will be even tougher decisions to finalize the roster."

This year's tournament will be played Aug. 5-10 in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia. Canada has won the tournament the past five years.

Headlining the camp invitees is a pair of top-flight Ontario Hockey League defensemen, Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts and Roland McKeown of the Kingston Frontenacs.

Ekblad, a 6-foot-3.25, 213-pound blueliner, had seven goals and 27 assists in 2012-13 for Barrie and added seven goals and 17 points in 22 playoff games to help it reach the OHL finals.

It was his second season with Barrie. In 2011, he became the second player to be granted exceptional player status to allow him to enter the OHL at age 15, a year earlier than other players. The Colts then selected him with the first pick of the 2011 OHL Draft.

McKeown (6-foot, 186) made his OHL debut with Kingston in 2012-13 after being the second pick of the 2012 OHL Draft. In 61 regular-season games, he had seven goals and 22 assists. He also had one assist and a plus-4 rating in seven games to help Canada win the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Two of McKeown's Kingston teammates and fellow top 2014 draft prospects also were invited to the camp: left wing Samuel Bennett and right wing Spencer Watson.

Bennett, a 6-foot, 165-pound forward, had 18 goals and 20 assists in 60 regular-season games, and three assists in four playoff games. Watson (5-9.5, 155) was second on the team in 2012-13 with 23 goals and fourth with 43 points.

Forty of the 42 players invited to the camp are eligible for the 2014 draft; defenseman Ryan Pilon from Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League and left wing Ryan Gropp from Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League are part of the 2015 class. Pilon is the nephew of former NHL defenseman Rich Pilon.


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