Edmonton, AB – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, will host Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp Wednesday through Sunday in Edmonton and Fort McMurray, with Edmonton Oil Kings captain Mark Pysyk participating.
Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Development Camp is the first step in identifying players for the National Junior Team for the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be hosted by the Oil Kings and Calgary Hitmen from December 26, 2011 to January 5, 2012 in Edmonton and Calgary.
At the conclusion of this week’s camp, Kevin Prendergast, Hockey Canada’s head scout for the men’s Program of Excellence, will continue to monitor these players and other potential candidates before inviting a group of players to a final selection camp in December, after which a final National Junior Team roster of 22 players will be named.
Forty-seven players will be attending the development camp, including 45 from the Canadian Hockey League. The camp roster now includes four goaltenders, 17 defencemen and 26 forwards. Pysyk is one of the 17 defencemen and is looking to make Team Canada this year after coming up just short at the final selection camp last season.
Pysyk, a 19-year-old blue-liner from Sherwood Park, recently signed a NHL entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres, who selected him in the first round (23rd overall) at the 2010 Entry Draft. In 187 career regular season games over four seasons with the Oil Kings, the 6-foot-2, 182-pound defenceman has scored 19 goals and 68 assists for 87 total points.
Pysyk was named the Oil Kings’ MVP the past two seasons and top defenceman the past three seasons. He has previously competed for Team Canada at the 2009 World Under-17 Challenge and the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Under-18 Tournament.
The 47 players, born in 1992 or 1993, were selected by Prendergast, in consultation with Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations and national teams, Brad Pascall, Hockey Canada’s senior director of hockey operations and national teams, Scott Salmond, head coach Don Hay (Vancouver, WHL) and assistant coaches George Burnett (Belleville, OHL) and Ryan Huska (Kelowna, WHL).
Prendergast evaluated players over the course of the 2010-11 season, following these players along with numerous other candidates for the program during league play, as well as during international competitions for both the under-18 and under-20 programs.
Practice sessions at Rexall Place are open to the public free of charge. Fans can enter the building at the northeast entrance, next to the Wayne Gretzky statue. Tickets for the Red-White game on Saturday, August 6 are on sale now through Ticketmaster, by calling 1-855-985-500 or at Sport Chek and Safeway retail locations in the Edmonton area.
For more information on Canada’s National Junior Team and the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, please visit www.HockeyCanada.ca/2012Juniors, or follow along via social media at www.facebook.com/worldjuniors or www.twitter.com/hc_wjc.