Hitmen centre a quick study

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:50 AM ET

Whenever he's going into a competition, Ryan White likes to know who he's going up against.

So when the Calgary Hitmen centre received his invite to Canada's U-18 July camp, prior to the junior World Cup, the first thing he did was take a look at the other 39 invitees.

White found a who's who of 17-year-old hockey players from Victoria to Nova Scotia, which made him sit up and take notice.

"I didn't know a lot of the guys' names and I was trying to remember who I went up against at the under-17s, so I know who I'm going up against," said White from his home in Brandon, Man.

"It's looking like the top 40 players in Canada and each one of those guys is going to bring something, so I'm just trying to get myself in shape and go to camp and play my game."

Among those competing for roster spots is Karl Alzner, the Hitmen's fine young defenceman.

Also invited were Ben Maxwell of the Kootenay Ice and the highly-touted Jonathan Toews, who plays for Shattuck St. Mary's prep school.

Calgary's Tyler Swystun, a member of the Camrose Kodiaks, will also be on hand.

The camp runs from July 30-Aug. 5 in Kitchener, Ont., before the World Cup begins Aug. 5 in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Hockey Canada will name a 22-man roster following the camp and White would love nothing more than a ticket to Europe.

"I've never been anywhere but the States and Canada. It would be awesome to go there, so I'm just hoping for the best," said White.

White is familiar with the international game after playing on Team Western, which won gold at last year's U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Getting the invite forced White to bump up his training, which he would have done in preparation for Hitmen camp at the end of the summer.

"I've got to do everything that much quicker to get back into shape and get ready to go," White said.

JUNIOR TIES: Canada's summer development camp for the world junior championship certainly has a local flavour.

Among the 44 invitees are Kamloops Blazers netminder Devan Dubnyk of Calgary, Hitmen defender Dustin Kohn, Calgarian Andy Rogers, a blueliner with Prince George, Calgary's Dan Bertram of Boston College as well as Calgary Flames prospects Kris Chucko and Dustin Boyd.

The camp runs from Aug. 10-15 in Whistler, B.C. The world championship will be held in Vancouver starting Dec. 26.


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