Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Simon Despres has been invited to Team Canada’s national junior development camp. The news was announced this afternoon by Hockey Canada.
41 skaters (not including goaltenders) were selected to take part in the camp that will take place this August at Mile One Center in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Of those 41 players, 17 are defenseman and 24 are forwards.
The four goaltenders and the official dates for the camp will be issued shortly.
The 41 individuals will then be rounded off to roughly 35 for the official camp that will be held in December. 22 players will then be selected to play for Team Canada at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo, New York.
Despres will join Moncton’s Brandon Gormley, Gatineau’s Nicolas Deslauriers, Rimouski’s Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, and Shawinigan’s Charles-Olivier Roussel as defenseman selected from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Drummondville’s Sean Couturier was the only QMJHL forward invited. Harvard University’s Louis Leblanc, who is in rumoured to be moving to the Montreal Junior organization, was also invited.
To view the entire list of invites, click HERE. Yahoo! Sports blog Buzzing the Net also has an impressive breakdown of the list.
Despres, a first round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, scored nine goals and added 38 assists in 63 games with Saint John last season. In the playoffs, Despres recorded two goals and 17 assists in 21 games.
In his three year QMJHL career, the 2007 first overall pick in the QMJHL Entry Draft has 12 goals and 81 assists in 193 games. He has also obtained an impressive plus-60 rating over that time.
This will mark the first time that the “Big Horse” has been invited to the camp. Only one Sea Dog, Chris DiDomenico, has ever played for Canada at the prestigious event.
“There are a number of tremendously talented players across Canada in this age group, and the players named today will have a terrific opportunity to showcase their abilities against the best the country has to offer,” said Hockey Canada head scout Al Murray in a release. “We are looking forward to a very competitive, high-energy camp.”
The invitation list includes five players from Canada’s silver medal-winning team at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship in Saskatchewan: Jared Cowen, Calvin de Haan, Ryan Ellis, Taylor Hall and Brayden Schenn.
The camp will include 24 skaters with international experience at the under-18 level (Cizikas, Cowen, de Haan, Després, Doherty, Eakin, Elliott, Ellis, Gormley, Gudbranson, Hall, Howden, Howse, Kassian, Leblanc, McNabb, Olsen, Pysyk, Ross, Schenn, Schwartz, Seguin, Skinner, Toffoli) and 30 skaters who have represented their region at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and/or Canada Winter Games (Ashton, Barrie, Beck, Cizikas, Couturier, Després, Doherty, Elliott, Ellis, Gallagher, Gauthier-Leduc, Glennie, Gormley, Gudbranson, Howden, Howse, Kassian, Leblanc, McNabb, Olsen, Pysyk, Ross, Roussel, Schenn, Schwartz, Seguin, Skinner, Toffoli, Vey, Werek).
Speaking of St. John’s, the ‘Q’ is seriously looking into having one of the two Subway Super Series games played at Mile One Center.