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Preparing for International Tourney Season

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Hockey Canada released the roster of players that will tryout to make Canada's World Juniors team. Colorado College's Jaden Schwartz and Michigan's Phil DiGiuseppe were both invited to the camp. The tryout camp runs December 10th-14th, meaning both players will likely miss the second game of their series the weekend of the 9th-10th(against Alaska-Anchorage for Schwartz, Michigan State for DiGiuseppe).

Schwartz is a virtual lock to make the team. He was picked last year--before breaking his ankle early in the tournament--and is off to another great start this year. DiGiuseppe is a long shot to make the team, though it's an honor to even be selected, considering he is one of only two forwards eligible for this year's draft to make the camp. It is possible that DiGiuseppe could have a great camp where he puts up a lot of points and Canada takes him for his playmaking abilities, but more than likely, this will be great experience for him for next year's tournament.

Meanwhile, arguably the most controversial omission from Canada's camp was former Shattuck-St. Mary's star Nathan MacKinnon, who is off to a fantastic start in the QMJHL this year. MacKinnon was left off mostly due to his age. Hockey Canada took some heat for that decision, but I definitely think there's some logic to it.

USA Hockey is likely to announce their tryout camp roster sometime next week. In the meantime, United States of Hockey is previewing some of the players likely to be selected for the camp.

Meanwhile, USA Hockey will just be taking their NTDP U17 team to the U17 Challenge in Windsor, Ontario this year. That's pretty standard for this tournament, though occasionally they'll add a player or two from outside the program if some roster spots are open due to injury. I wouldn't have minded seeing a players like Taylor Cammarata or Ian McCoshen(both former teammates of MacKinnon at Shattuck; that was a pretty fun team to watch) added to the roster, though it's certainly understandable to reward the players in the NTDP system.

There's not much notable on the other rosters for this tournament. Goalie and half-American Eric Comrie is playing for Team Pacific. This isn't an IIHF event, so nothing is set in stone, but it looks like he'll be playing for Canada in the future.

Pretty much all of the Canadians playing are already CHLers and thus ineligible for college hockey. All but two of Ontario's players are in the OHL, and the press release announcing the team made explicitly clear that the two that weren't had already committed to playing in the OHL. That seems to be a growing trend at this tournament. I came across an old roster for this tournament from eight years ago, and was surprised how many players from that team ended up playing college hockey.