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Stars Prospects Head to World Juniors Camps

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars training camp is more than a month away, but some of the team’s prospects are heading to summer camps with the 2015 World Junior Championship on their minds.

Center Jason Dickinson, defensemen Niklas Hansson and Aleksi Makela and goaltender Philippe Desrosiers all are taking part in the camps that will help determine rosters for the World Junior Championship, which will be held December 26-January 5 in Toronto and Montreal.

Dickinson and Desrosiers are taking part in Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Development Camp, which will be held from August 3-8 in Montreal and Sherbrooke, Quebec. The camp will feature games against national junior teams from Russia and Czech Republic.

The camp is the first step as Canada begins evaluating players for its World Juniors roster, which will be finalized in December.

“It would mean the world,” Dickinson said of making Canada’s squad. “It is every kid’s dream. Playing in front of your country is special.”

Dickinson, the Stars’ first round pick (29th overall) in 2013, has played internationally before, picking up one assist in three games before an injury cut his tournament short as Canada won gold at the 2013 Under-18 World Championship.

“I think with all the experience that I’ve had with the Under-18s and all the camps I’ve attended, I think I am going to be really comfortable going in there,” said Dickinson. “I am going to make it hard for them to not take me.”

Dickinson, who will play for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League this season, is one of 24 forwards at the camp.

Desrosiers, Dallas second round pick (54th overall) in 2013, was part of that gold medal team at the 2013 Under-18 World Championship, posting a 0.80 goals against average and .970 save percentage in five games. Now, he is hoping to land a spot on Canada’s 2015 World Juniors squad.

“When I was young I always watched Team Canada play at Christmastime, so it is a big dream for me,” Desrosiers said. “I really want to make that team.”

Desrosiers, who will play for Rimouski in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season, will be one of four goaltenders at Canada’s camp.

“I know the other goaltenders, they are great goaltenders,” Desrosiers said. “It will be healthy competition. We are all friends. It is good.”

Hansson and Makela will be in Lake Placid, New York, where national junior teams from Sweden, Finland and the United States will play against each other as part of the USA’s National Junior Evaluation Camp, which will be held August 2-9.

Hansson, a third round pick (68th overall) in 2013, will play for Sweden’s U20 team in Lake Placid. He’s played 17 international games for Sweden at the junior level. The 19-year-old, who will play in Europe this season, said at Stars development camp that making Sweden’s World Junior team is high on his list.

“That’s a big dream for me,” said Hansson, who is one of eight defensemen on Sweden’s roster. “I am going to work my [butt] off to make it.”

After the USA camp, Sweden will travel to Canada to play Russia in a game on Saturday August 9 to conclude its North American trip.

Makela, a seventh round pick (182nd overall) in 2013, has played nine games internationally for Finland’s U17 and U18 teams. Makela, who will play in Europe this season, is one of eight defenseman on Finland’s roster.

Defenseman Julius Honka, Dallas first round pick (14th overall) in this summer’s draft, was on Finland’s original roster for the Lake Placid camp, but did not make the trip. He’s considered a lock for the World Juniors and was given some time off to rest.

Honka played on Finland’s team that won gold at the 2014 World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden. He had one assist in seven games for the Finns.

“That was a great experience. We had a great team there. The gold medal was like a cherry on top,” said Honka. “That was huge in Finland. Every young player wants to be on that team one day. It was a great experience to play there.”

Canada Summer Development Camp Game Schedule (All times Central)

Mon Aug. 4: Czech Republic vs. Russia, 6 p.m.
Tue Aug. 5: Canada vs. Czech Republic, 6 p.m.
Wed Aug 6: Canada vs. Russia, 6 p.m.
Thu Aug 7: Canada vs. Russia, 6 p.m.
Fri Aug 8: Canada vs. Czech Republic, 11 a.m.
Sat Aug 9: Sweden vs. Russia, 6 p.m.

USA Evaluation Camp Game Schedule (All times Central)

Sat Aug. 2: USA White vs. USA Blue, 4:00 p.m.
Sun Aug. 3: USA White vs. Sweden, 12:00 p.m.
Sun Aug. 3: USA Blue vs. Finland, 3:00 p.m.
Mon Aug. 4: USA Blue vs. Sweden, 12:00 p.m.
Mon Aug. 4: USA White vs. Finland, 3:00 p.m.
Wed Aug. 6: USA vs. Sweden, 3:00 p.m.
Thu. Aug. 7: USA vs. Finland, 3:00 p.m.
Fri Aug. 8: Sweden vs. Finland, 3:00 p.m.
Sat Aug. 9: USA vs. Czech Republic, 12:00 p.m.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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