Canuck hopefuls join juniors

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

There are no Vancouver Giants at Canada's junior national team tryouts. But there is a pair of Vancouver Canucks' prospects.

Goaltender Julien Ellis and defenseman Luc Bourdon are back in Vancouver competing with 32 others for a spot on Canada's team that will host the 2006 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. They'll know by Friday whether they'll stick around and play in the tournament, which begins Boxing Day in Vancouver.

Bourdon was Vancouver's first pick - 10th overall - in July's National Hockey League entry draft. The six-foot-two defenseman with the Val d'Or Foreurs is a New Brunswick native with two goals and 18 assists in 20 games. Bourdon sat out a two-game Quebec Major Junior Hockey League exhibition series with a Russian touring squad last month with an infected hand after he punched an opponent in the teeth. His long locks were shorn for Monday's sessions, as per orders from head coach Brent Sutter.

"It's going to be great for (Canucks') fans to have one of their players playing," said Bourdon, one of a dozen defensemen in camp. "I just want to keep it up as I had done during the training camp with the Canucks and try to do my best."

Six-foot Ellis is the shortest of the four goaltenders. The 19-year-old has a 14-9 record with Shawinigan Cataractes.

"If all the fans can make a little boost on the ice, that's good for me," Ellis said.

Today's practices at 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. are open to the public. Admission is free. The team's scrimmage tonight and exhibition game against the University of B.C. Thunderbirds tomorrow are both 6 p.m. starts. Tickets are $15 plus service charge and tax.


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