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Hockey Canada announces WJC selection camp

by Mike G. Morreale

Hockey Canada has announced that the Canadian National Junior Team selection camp will be held Dec. 11-15 at the Winsport Athletic and Ice Complex in Calgary, Alberta.

The camp will be used to determine the roster for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be held Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2013, in Ufa, Russia. The team will be coached by Steve Spott, who served as an assistant coach during Canada's silver medal-winning effort at the 2010 WJC.

Spott, coach of the Kitchener Rangers, will be joined on the staff by assistants Mario Duhamel (Drummondville, QMJHL), Don Nachbaur (Spokane, WHL) and André Tourigny (Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL).

"If there's anything I would say to Canadian hockey fans, it's that this has become a global sport," Spott said. "It's no longer Canada's divine right to win gold medals at any level. The bar has been raised, but it hasn't changed our mindset where it is gold or nothing."

Canada hasn't won gold at the WJC since 2009. The Canadians earned a bronze medal at last year's tournament in Calgary. A loss to Russia in the semifinal round assured that Canada would not be playing for a gold medal for the first time since 2001.

"We beat Canada and we win … wonderful win," Russian forward Nail Yakupov told reporters after the victory. Yakupov would be selected No. 1 by the Edmonton Oilers at the 2012 NHL Draft five months later.

Canada's entire selection camp roster will be announced on Dec. 3. The coaching staff expects to choose the final 22-man roster on Dec. 13.

One player who won't be participating at the selection camp or the tournament this year is defenseman and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Ryan Murray, who was recently diagnosed with an injured left shoulder and will undergo surgery in a few weeks. Two other defensemen who could return are Dougie Hamilton (Boston Bruins) of the Niagara Ice Dogs and London Knights captain Scott Harrington (Pittsburgh Penguins).

Murray's absence should open the door for another top young defenseman taken in the 2012 Draft, possibly Griffin Reinhart (New York Islanders), Morgan Rielly (Toronto Maple Leafs), Matt Dumba (Minnesota Wild) or Derrick Pouliot (Pittsburgh Penguins).

Bob McKenzie of TSN recently suggested via Twitter that Rielly would be the likely replacement and formulate Canada's top defensive pair with Hamilton.

Canada will play in Group B at the 2013 WJC, along with Russia, the United States, Slovakia and Germany, with preliminary-round games being played at the 7,950-seat Ufa Arena. Defending gold medalist Sweden, which scored a 1-0 overtime victory against Russia in last year's WJC final to end 30 years of championship futility, heads Group A, which includes Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Latvia.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at @mike_morreale

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