Alzner only Hitmen to earn invite

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

Sure, losing Karl Alzner for Canada's world junior team would put a crunch on the Calgary Hitmen.

But it's a scenario GM/head coach Kelly Kisio would happily accept.

Alzner was the lone Hitmen among the 38 players invited to Hockey Canada's selection camp, which starts Sunday at Father David Bauer.

Kisio is thrilled for the 18-year-old blueliner, who's pegged to be a first-rounder at next year's NHL Entry Draft.

"Karl deserves it. He's played really well this year. I'm glad he's getting a chance," Kisio said.

"This year, he's really stepped up and dominated."

Fellow Hitmen standouts Brodie Dupont and Ryan White, potential candidates for the tournament that begins Boxing Day in Sweden, didn't receive the call.

"It's too bad for them," Kisio said. "Brodie and Whitie worked hard to get a chance, for sure. But you have to understand there are a lot of great players in our league -- throughout Canada -- to choose from."

With five returning defencemen from Canada's stingiest goals-against performance at a world junior hockey championship, Alzner realizes he's in tough to earn a roster spot.

"To be honest, I have been looking at it as there's just two spots, but as (head coach Craig) Hartsburg said, everybody's got to work for their spot on this team," Alzner said.

"I know how those guys play is the way

I want to play. I want to come out and show that I can match their game and excel in other areas as well."

Also invited to camp are Calgary Flames goalie prospect Leland Irving of the Everett Silvertips and forwards Daniel Bertram (Boston College) and Keaton Ellerby (Kamloops Blazers), both Calgary products.

Two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards will be chosen to defend the gold medal at the 2007 world junior hockey championship, starting Dec. 26 in Leksand, Sweden.


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