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Thomas closing in on World Juniors

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
The Thomas Watch

Rangers prospect Christian Thomas, the Blueshirts' 2010 second-round draft pick, is one step closer to his dream of representing Canada at the World Junior Championships.

On Monday, Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, included Thomas on the list of 41 of Canada’s top junior-aged players (born in 1992 or later) who will take part in Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Selection Camp from Dec. 10-14. The camp will be held at the WinSport Canada Athletic & Ice Complex in Calgary as a tune-up for the World Junior tournament, which is also being held in Alberta and begins on Dec. 26.

Thomas, who plays for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League, scored 54 goals last season and earned an invitation to Team' Canada's summer evaluation camp. He was one of 46 players at that camp and has made it through the first cut down to 41.

Christian Thomas has said that one of his goals in 2011-12 was to be a member of the Canada's World Junior team that goes after the gold on home soil.
Of the 41 players invited to Calgary, three are returning players –- Quinton Howden (Oak Bank, Man./Moose Jaw, WHL), Jaden Schwartz (Wilcox, Sask./Colorado College, CCHA) and Mark Visentin (Waterdown, Ont./Niagara, OHL) helped Canada earn the silver medal at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y.

In addition, 36 of the players named to the selection camp roster were drafted in either the 2010 or 2011 NHL Entry Drafts, including fourteen first-round selections and nine second-round picks.

Hockey Canada can still add additional players prior to the opening of the selection camp on Dec. 10, in the event that NHL teams loan Canada’s National Junior Team junior-aged eligible players currently playing in the NHL.

“On behalf of Hockey Canada, we want to congratulate the players named to the camp roster today, along with their club teams, parents and minor hockey coaches that have helped them reach this level,” said Brad Pascall, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations/national teams. “As well, we would like to thank the Canadian Hockey League for its partnership and support of the Program of Excellence.”

At the upcoming camp, there will be two Red-White intrasquad games (Dec. 11-12) and one game against a team of all-stars from Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). The CIS team will be comprised of players from the University of Calgary and University of Lethbridge.

Once the final roster is named at the conclusion of the selection camp on Dec. 14, Canada’s National Junior Team will play in three pre-competition games in Alberta prior to the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Calgary and Edmonton.

Canada will play its first game of the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship on Boxing Day, Dec. 26 against Finland. The Canadians have medalled at thirteen consecutive IIHF World Junior Championships, including gold medal performances in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, silver medals in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010 and 2011 and bronze medals in 2000 and 2001.
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