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Murphy to lead Canada at World U-18 Championship

by Adam Kimelman
Kitchener Rangers defenseman Ryan Murphy, who could be a top-10 pick at the 2011 Entry Draft, was among the 22 players picked by Hockey Canada for the 2011 World Under-18 Championship.

The tournament will be held April 14-24 in Crimmitschau and Dresden, Germany.

The Calgary Hitmen's Mike Williamson will coach the team, with Barrie Colts coach Dale Hawerchuk and Swift Current Broncos coach Mark Lamb serving as assistants.

"As a coaching staff we are looking forward to getting together with the players we have chosen and working towards our goal of a gold medal for Canada," Williamson told Hockey Canada's website. "A number of these players have previous international experience, and that will prove invaluable in Germany."

Murphy's team was eliminated in the first round of the OHL playoffs, but he currently leads the league's defensemen in scoring with 11 points in seven games. During the regular season, his 26 goals were the most among blueliners, and his 79 points were second only to Windsor's Ryan Ellis.

A 5-foot-10 1/2, 166-pound defenseman, Murphy is No. 10 on NHL Central Scouting's mid-term ranking of the best North American skaters eligible for the Draft.

Also picked was a pair of forwards who hear their names called during the first round of the June 24-25 draft.

The Barrie Colts' Mark Scheifele was second on his team with 22 goals and 75 points; he was fourth among all first-year OHL players in scoring and eighth in goals. A 6-foot-1 1/2, 182-pound center, he's No. 21 on Central Scouting's list. 

The Prince Albert Raiders' Mark McNeill was second on his WHL team with 32 goals and 81 points in 70 games. The 6-foot-1 1/2, 201-pound center is No. 22 on Central Scouting's rankings.

Of the 22 players picked, 15 are eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft. Among those eligible for the 2012 Draft that were selected for the team were defenseman Ryan Murray of the WHL's Everett Silvertips, and goaltender Malcolm Subban of the OHL's Belleville Bulls. Subban is the younger brother of Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.

Canada will open play Friday, April 15 against the Czech Republic, and also will play Finland, Norway and Sweden in the preliminary round. The quarterfinals start April 21, the semis on April 23, and the gold- and bronze-medal games are April 24.

Canada finished seventh at last year's event, which was held in Belarus. Canada last won gold at this tournament in 2008.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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