Forwards Mark Stone of Winnipeg, Quinton Howden of Oakbank and Winnipeg Jets prospect Mark Scheifele have been named to Canada’s national junior hockey team and will represent Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship later this month in Edmonton and Calgary.
The three players were among 22 players announced on Wednesday as the final selections for Canada’s entry in the tournament set for Dec. 26, 2011-Jan. 5. There were 13 players released on Wednesday morning.
Stone, the captain of the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings, will play for Canada for the first time in his career.
Howden, the captain of the Moose Jaw Warriors, is out of action at this time with what is being called an upper-body injury. Howden, goaltender Mark Visentin and forwards Brett Connolly and Jaden Schwartz are the only returning players from the 2011 team, which won silver.
"People have showed a lot of confidence in me from Day One and I’ve always been told not to give up," Stone said in a telephone interview with the Free Press from Calgary shortly after the press conference announcing the team.
"I’ve always wanted to play in the World Juniors so this is going to be the best opportunity I’ll ever have, maybe in my whole entire hockey career."
Other players named to the team included goaltender Scott Wedgewood along with defencemen Nathan Beaulieu, Brandon Gormley, Jamie Oleksiak, Dougie Hamilton, Scott Harrington, Ryan Murray and Mark Pysyk.
The other forwards are Freddie Hamilton, Jonathan Huberdeau, Tanner Pearson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Ryan Strome, Michael Bournival, Brendan Gallagher and Boone Jenner.
Team Canada will practice in Calgary on Thursday and then move to Banff where the team will be based until Dec. 22.
The Canadian team will open tournament play on Dec. 26 against Finland.
Canada has won silver for the past two years after winning five straight gold medals.