The Okanagan Rockets and Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), announced Tuesday the 96 skaters who have been invited to attend Canada’s national under-17 development camp, July 29 to Aug. 4 at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary.
The roster includes 36 defencemen and 60 forwards.
The players invited to camp were selected by Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada's head scout of men's national teams, together with regional scouts Donald Audette (Quebec), Brad McEwen (West), Kevin Mitchell (Atlantic) and Darryl Woodley (Ontario) with input from Hockey Canada regional branch representatives. Players were evaluated throughout the season with their club teams, and at three regional under-16 events: the Western Canada U16 Challenge, OHL Gold Cup and QMJHL Excellence Challenge.
Sixteen under-17 goaltenders have been invited to the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence goaltending camp, June 11-14 in Calgary. From this camp, 12 netminders will be added to the under-17 development camp to complete the roster.
The development camp will serve as part of Canada’s new under-17 structure, focusing on player development. Scouts will continue to watch these players, along with other 1998-born players across the country, and 66 will be selected to represent Canada at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, which is scheduled for Oct. 31 to Nov. 8 in a yet-to-be-determined location. The tournament will be the first to feature three Canadian national teams (Black, Red and White). From 1986 to 2014, Canada was represented by five regional teams: Atlantic, Ontario, Pacific, Quebec and West.
“At Hockey Canada, we are very excited about the possibilities that lie ahead within our national teams with the changes we have instituted at the under-17 level,” said Scott Salmond, senior director, hockey operations with Hockey Canada. “It is our intention to identify potential national team players at an earlier age and have them play together more often.”
All 96 skaters have been drafted or listed by CHL teams, including 35 from the Ontario Hockey League, 32 from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and 29 from the Western Hockey League.
Canada’s national under-17 summer development camp roster, by branch:
B.C. Hockey – 8
Hockey Alberta – 13
Saskatchewan Hockey Association – 2
Hockey Manitoba – 5
Ontario Hockey Federation – 32
Hockey Eastern Ontario – 4
Hockey Quebec – 24
Hockey Newfoundland & Labrador – 2
Hockey Nova Scotia – 6
The 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will bring together the top players in the world born in 1998 or later. The under-17 program is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. Many players who compete at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge go on to represent Canada with the National Men’s Under-18 Team, National Junior Team and National Men’s Team.
Since the first under-17 tournament (then known as the Quebec Esso Cup) in 1986, more than 1,300 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including 10 of the last 13 first-overall selections (Ilya Kovalchuk, 2001; Rick Nash, 2002; Marc-André Fleury, 2003; Alexander Ovechkin, 2004; Erik Johnson, 2006; Patrick Kane, 2007; John Tavares, 2009; Taylor Hall, 2010; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011; Nathan MacKinnon, 2013).
For more information on the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca/wu17, or follow along via social media at www.facebook.com/worldu17 or www.twitter.com/hc_wu17.