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Huberdeau's suspension won't affect WJC status

by Staff

Saint John Sea Dogs forward Jonathan Huberdeau will not miss any time at Hockey Canada's National Junior Team selection camp in Calgary this week despite receiving a four-game suspension by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League on Monday.

The trouble started for the Florida Panthers prospect late in the third period of a loss to the Halifax Mooseheads on Sunday when Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar of Halifax dropped the gloves. Huberdeau received an automatic suspension for instigating the fight, in addition to an automatic three-game suspension for abusing an official after a linesman was injured in the altercation.

Neither the International Ice Hockey Federation nor Hockey Canada will uphold the league's suspension, so Huberdeau will not miss any time at Canada's camp slated Dec. 11-13 at the Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park. Huberdeau actually arrived in Calgary on Monday.

"It was tough to hear about [the suspension]," Huberdeau told The Toronto Sun on Monday. "It was not intentional. I talked to the [linesman] after the game and he didn't think it was my fault. But the league made a decision. That's their job and I'm fine with that."

Huberdeau (6-foot-1, 171 pounds) admitted his emotions got the best of him.

"I was just playing with emotion," he said. "The [linesman] came and I think he slipped, and I got in a fight."


Huberdeau, one of six returning players from last year's bronze medal-winning team, was an alternate captain for Canada at the 2012 WJC. He was also named captain for part of last summer's Canada-Russia Super Series.

"I'm focused on being here and making the team," Huberdeau said. "I want to represent my country, so I'm going to try to forget about everything else."

It's very possible that Huberdeau will find himself inserted on Canada's top line alongside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mark Scheifele.

The Canadian National Junior Team, which will be named Dec. 13 and likely include 13 forwards, seven defenseman, two goalies and one emergency goalie in case of injury, will depart for pre-competition camp in Finland on Dec. 15. The 2013 WJC is slated for Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia.

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