Seven returning players were among the 32 invited to Canada's National Junior Team selection camp to help determine the roster for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, Hockey Canada announced on Wednesday.
Those seven, who contributed to winning a silver medal at the 2017 WJC in Montreal, are goaltender Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers); defensemen Jake Bean (Carolina Hurricanes), Kale Clague (Los Angeles Kings) and Dante Fabbro (Nashville Predators); and forwards Dillon Dube (Calgary Flames), Michael McLeod (New Jersey Devils) and Taylor Raddysh (Tampa Bay Lightning).
There will be 11 NHL first-round picks at selection camp, including five from the 2017 NHL Draft: defensemen Cale Makar (No. 5, Colorado Avalanche), and Callan Foote (No. 14, Tampa Bay Lightning), and forwards Cody Glass (No. 6, Vegas Golden Knights), Nick Suzuki (No. 13, Golden Knights) and Robert Thomas (No. 20, St. Louis Blues).
Canada's selection camp will be held Dec. 12-15 at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario. It will feature three games, including two matches against a team of U Sports (formerly CIS) all-stars on Dec. 13 and 14, and a final match against Denmark on Dec. 15.
"Hockey at all levels across the country continues to produce talented and elite-level hockey players that makes our evaluation and selection process a difficult one," said Shawn Bullock, Hockey Canada's senior manager of hockey operations and men's national teams. "With a talent pool as deep as we have in this country, we believe the 22 players eventually selected from camp will give us the best chance at bringing home a gold medal. We couldn't be more excited for our staff and players to get together in St. Catharines and begin the journey."
Canada will compete in exhibition games against Czech Republic in London, Ontario, on Dec. 20, and Switzerland in Hamilton, Ont., on Dec. 22. Canada coach Dominique Ducharme, coach and general manager for Drummondville of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, will likely set his 22-player roster after the game against Denmark.
Canada is looking to rebound from a 5-4 shootout loss against the United States in the gold medal game of the 2017 WJC.
NHL clubs have until Dec. 19 to decide whether they choose to loan additional age-eligible players to any of the participating countries in the World Junior Championship.
The 2018 WJC will be held in Buffalo from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2018. Canada will open the tournament against Finland in a Group A preliminary-round game at Key Bank Center in Buffalo on Dec. 26. Also in Group A are the United States, Slovakia and Denmark. Canada will play the United States in a preliminary-round game at New Era Stadium, home to the Buffalo Bills of the NFL, on Dec. 29 at 3 p.m. ET.
Group B consists of Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Belarus.
CANADA SELECTION CAMP ROSTER
GOALTENDERS: Michael DiPietro, Windsor, OHL (Vancouver Canucks); Carter Hart, Everett, WHL (Philadelphia Flyers); Samuel Harvey, Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL (2018 draft eligible); Colton Point, Colgate, ECAC (Dallas Stars)
DEFENSEMEN: Jake Bean, Calgary, WHL (Carolina Hurricanes); Dennis Cholowski, St. Cloud State, NCHC (Detroit Red Wings); Kale Clague, Brandon, WHL (Los Angeles Kings); Dante Fabbro, Boston University, H-EAST (Nashville Predators); Mario Ferraro, Massachusetts-Amherst, H-EAST (San Jose Sharks); Callan Foote, Kelowna, WHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); Josh Mahura, Regina, WHL (Anaheim Ducks); Cale Makar, Massachusetts-Amherst, H-EAST (Colorado Avalanche); Conor Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (Colorado Avalanche); Logan Stanley, Windsor, OHL (Winnipeg Jets)
FORWARDS: Jonathan Ang, Peterborough, OHL (Florida Panthers); Drake Batherson, Cape Breton, QMJHL (Ottawa Senators); Maxime Comtois, Victoriaville, QMJHL (Anaheim Ducks); Dillon Dube, Kelowna, WHL (Calgary Flames); Alex Formenton, London, OHL (Ottawa Senators); Jonah Gadjovich, Owen Sound, OHL (Vancouver Canucks); Cody Glass, Portland, WHL (Vegas Golden Knights); Brett Howden, Moose Jaw, WHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); Tanner Kaspick, Brandon, WHL (St. Louis Blues); Boris Katchouk, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); Jordan Kyrou, Sarnia, OHL (St. Louis Blues); Kole Lind, Kelowna, WHL (Vancouver Canucks); Michael McLeod, Mississauga, OHL (New Jersey Devils); Taylor Raddysh, Erie, OHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); Sam Steel, Regina, WHL (Anaheim Ducks); Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound, OHL (Vegas Golden Knights); Robert Thomas, London, OHL (St. Louis Blues)