193 of the top junior players in the biggest hockey player-producing factory, better known as the country of Canada, are in Calgary right now for the inaugural National Junior Sport Check Summer Development Camp.
Hockey Canada rcently conjoined their Program of Excellence, which now contains: the under-17 (110 players), under-18 (43 players) and under-20 (40 players) along with 86 of the top women from the under-18 squad and women's development camp for a three-week showcase.
24 forwards, 13 defenceman and three goaltenders reported to Cowtown on Saturday for practices over the weekend before splitting up into two split squads; both squads will play a game against Russia (Aug. 3 & 5) and the Czech Republic (Aug. 4 & 6).
The schedule and times can be found below:
Monday, Aug. 3
- Canada vs. Russia at 10 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. PT on TSN
Tuesday, Aug. 4
- Canada vs. Czech Republic at 7:30 p.m. ET, 4:30 p.m. PT on TSN and TSN 1050 & 1410
Wednesday, Aug. 5
- Russia vs. Canada at 10 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. PT on TSN
Thursday, Aug. 6
- Czech Republic vs. Canada at 7 p.m. ET on TSN, 4 p.m. PT on TSN & and TSN 1050 & 1410
Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada's vice-president of hockey operations, stressed the importance of having a cohesive program that will allow Canadian junior players to flourish in the Program of Excellence in an interview on Hockey Canada's website.
"From a player’s perspective, it allows them to sort of measure themselves to each other and to the next generation and see where they stand. (And) it’s a little bit of the same for the coaches. They get to share ideas and see what the coaches from the other levels are doing differently.
For our scouts and even from a fan’s perspective, it allows them to see the top 15- to 19-year-old players in the country all in one place, during the same period of time, which is a truly unique opportunity.
At the under-17 level, it’s about exposing the players and introducing them to each other and to our concepts," said Salmond. At the under-18 level, it becomes more about educating them, so that when they reach the under-20 level it’ll be about executing."
All games will be broadcasted live on TSN. Canucks play-by-play man John Abbott and TSN 1040 midday host Blake Price will provide the call. Click Here for information on TSN broadcasting the World Junior Hockey Summer Showcase.
Jake Virtanen (@Jake_Virtanen) July 30, 2015
Calgary tomorrow for world junior development camp— Jared McCann (@jaredmccann19) July 31, 2015
The Vancouver Canucks will be represented by 2014 first round picks Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann. McCann will centre Canada's third line tonight alongside 2016 draft eligible prospect Julien Gauthier of the Val-d'Or Foreurs and Los Angeles Kings 7th round pick in the 2014 draft (209th overall) Spencer Watson.
Virtanen has a long history with Hockey Canada, having dawned the Maple Leaf at the 2013 World Junior U17 Hockey Challenge, the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial U18 Tournament, the 2014 IIHF World U18 Tournament and the 2015 IIHF U20 World Junior Championship. In 24 career games in a Canadian uniform, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has nine goals and nine assists including one goal and three assists at last year's World Juniors.
Lukas Jasek, the Canucks sixth-round pick in the 2015 Draft, was snubbed from the Czechs roster.
Canada's expected lines v Russia tonight: Dal Colle-Fabbri-Merkley Crouse-Strome-Marner Gauthier-McCann-Watson Stephens-Quenneville-Ho-Sang— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) August 3, 2015
Canada's expected D tonight v Russia: Sanheim-Hicketts Dermott-Roy Dunn-Carrier McDonald starts— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) August 3, 2015
Virtanen will suit up in Tuesday night's game versus the Czechs and will be in a top-six role as Virtanen is one of five returning players returning from the 2015 gold medal-winning roster along with Joe Hicketts, Lawson Crouse, Robbi Fabbri and Brayden Point.
The rest of the roster can be found below and is courtesy of Hockey Canada.