Western flavour

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

If you're a hockey fan who plans on cheering for Canada at the 2005 world junior championship later this month, it would be a good idea to invest in some Western Hockey League pompons.

Sources indicated yesterday that when Hockey Canada today unveils its list of invitees for the national junior team's selection camp, 21 of the 32 players are expected to be from the Western Hockey League.

There would be seven from the Ontario Hockey League and four from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Included in the QMJHL players is centre Patrice Bergeron, who is with the Providence Bruins of the AHL this season.

Of the 32 players, 12 skated for Canada at the world junior last winter in Finland, where the team blew a third-period lead against the U.S. in the gold-medal game and was left with silver.

THREE OHL RETURNEES

Included in that group of 12 returnees are forwards Michael Richards of the Kitchener Rangers, Jeff Carter of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Anthony Stewart of the Kingston Frontenacs.

Three members of the high-flying London Knights -- forwards Corey Perry and David Bolland and defenceman Danny Syvret -- also are thought to be on the list, as is Mississauga IceDogs defenceman Kyle Quincey.

While there are many OHL players who will be disappointed this morning, two goalies who were in the running at various points have been given the cold shoulder -- David Shantz of the IceDogs and Ryan Munce of the Sarnia Sting.

In fact, all four goalies going to the camp are expected to be from the WHL. That is newsworthy in that no WHL goalie has been No. 1 for Canada since 1992, when former Maple Leafs netminder Trevor Kidd was the man.

Odds are that when the selection camp breaks, two of Kevin Nastiuk, Jeff Glass and Rejean Beauchemin will be on the team.

The selection camp opens Sunday in Winnipeg and runs until Dec. 16. Twenty-two players (two goalies, seven defencemen and 13 forwards) will comprise the final roster.

Canada, which has not won gold at the world junior since 1997, opens the 2005 tournament in Grand Forks, N.D., on Christmas Day at 4:30 p.m. EST versus Slovakia.

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ON THE SHORT LIST

The 32 players expected to be invited to world junior selection camp:

GOAL -- Kevin Nastiuk, Medicine Hat, WHL; Rejean Beauchemin, Prince Albert, WHL; Jeff Glass, Kootenay, WHL; Devan Dubnyk, Kamloops, WHL; Bryan Bridges, Seattle, WHL

DEFENCE -- Dion Phaneuf, Red Deer, WHL*; Shawn Belle, Tri-City, WHL*; Brent Seabrook, Lethbridge, WHL*; Braydon Coburn, Portland, WHL*; Shea Weber, Kelowna, WHL; Mike Green, Saskatoon, WHL; Cam Barker, Medicine Hat, WHL; Danny Syvret, London, OHL; Kyle Quincey, Mississauga, OHL; Jeff Schultz, Calgary, WHL; Alexandre Picard, Halifax, QMJHL

FORWARDS -- Jeff Carter, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL*; Michael Richards, Kitchener, OHL*; Anthony Stewart, Kingston, OHL*; Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL*; Stephen Dixon, Cape Breton, QMJHL*; Jeremy Colliton, Prince Albert, WHL*; Ryan Getzlaf, Calgary, WHL*; Nigel Dawes, Kootenay, WHL*; Patrice Bergeron, Boston, NHL (Providence, AHL); Corey Perry, London, OHL; David Bolland, London, OHL; Ryan Stone, Brandon, WHL; Eric Fehr, Brandon, WHL; Colin Fraser, Red Deer, WHL; Clarke MacArthur, Medicine Hat, WHL; Stefan Meyer, Medicine Hat, WHL; Marc-Andre Pouliot, Rimouski, QMJHL; Andrew Ladd, Calgary, WHL, Gilbert Brule, Vancouver, WHL; Steve Bernier, Moncton, QMJHL.

* -- PLAYED FOR CANADA LAST WINTER IN FINLAND


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