Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Junior Hockey League, has announced the 22 players that will represent Canada East at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth but none of the four players from the MHL that were invited to the selection camp made the cut, including Yarmouth Mariner Colin Campbell.
Sixty players from the CJHL’s five eastern teams were invited to the selection camp. But only players from two of the leagues – the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) and Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) – have been named to the roster.
The other eastern leagues in the CJHL are the Maritime Hockey League (MHL), which is the league the Yarmouth Mariners play in, the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL) and the Ligue de hockey junior AAA du Québec (LHJAAAQ).
There is still a Yarmouth and MHL presence on the team, however, since Yarmouth Mariners head coach Laurie Barron is an assistant coach on the team. The head coach is Greg Walters (Toronto, Ont./Georgetown, OJHL), and the other assistant coach is Sheldon Keefe (Brampton, Ont./Pembroke, CCHL).
The roster was picked following a four-day selection camp at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto.
“Getting down to 22 players was no easy feat, especially considering the talent we had in Toronto this week,” said Walters. “As a coaching staff, we’re confident we’ve assembled the best roster and we look forward to getting to Nova Scotia and getting started.”
For Campbell, this was the second consecutive year he had been invited to the selection camp. On the day the Canada East roster was announced, Campbell was the top scorer for the Yarmouth Mariners and sat in second place in the MHL for the most points thus far this season. In 16 games he’s had nine goals and 17 assists.
Asked about Campbell’s performance during the camp, Barron – Campbell’s Mariners coach – said he had a great camp.
“Unfortunately he went in and I don’t think was feeling 100 per cent, and I think if I had to do it all over again I probably would have given him the weekend off going into it,” said Barron when reached in Toronto on Thursday. The two days before leaving for camp the Mariners had played games in Campbellton and Miramichi, New Brunswick.
“But he’s still a great player, and this was a tough process,” said Barron, who noted the competition to make the roster was pretty fierce. Campbell did score a shootout winner in one of the intrasquad games.
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The other players from the MHL who had been invited to the selection camp were goalie Anderson Snair from the Metro Shipbuilders, Justin MacDonald from the Dieppe Commandos and Brandon Pye from the Truro Bearcats. Asked overall how players from this league stacked up to those from the other leagues, Barron said, “They all represented themselves very well, they certainly have nothing to hang their heads about.”
The Canada East roster includes:
• two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards;
• 14 players from the OJHL and eight players from the CCHL;
• two players returning from the 2011 World Junior A Challenge (Danforth, Neville).
The 2012 World Junior A Challenge will be held at the Mariners Centre in Yarmouth. Canada East will play in Group B, joined by Switzerland and the United States, while Canada West, the Czech Republic and Russia will comprise Group A.
Preliminary round play will run until Wednesday, Nov. 7, with both semifinals taking place Friday, Nov. 9. The gold medal game, which will be shown nationally on TSN/RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, is set for Sunday, Nov. 11. All preliminary round games, quarter-finals, semifinals and the bronze medal game can be seen live via webcast through FASTHockey at hockeycanada.fasthockey.com.
Canada East has appeared in four of the six gold medal games at the World Junior A Challenges, taking silver in 2006 in Yorkton, Sask., 2007 in Trail, B.C., and 2010 in Penticton, B.C., as well as last year in Langley, B.C. It won bronze in 2008 in Camrose, Alta., and finished fourth in 2009 in Summerside, P.E.I.