Canada, U.S. clash Dec. 31

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

Peter DeBoer was at Scotiabank Place yesterday to talk to Senators GM Bryan Murray about the club's vacant coaching position.

The Kitchener Rangers coach would have also been intrigued by what was going on one floor up at Scotiabank Place yesterday.

DeBoer, if he doesn't wind up coaching the Senators or somewhere else, is tabbed as the favourite to coach Canada at the world junior championships here beginning Dec. 26, and he would have been interested to see the championship schedule, which was released yesterday.

Team Canada's marquee game of the preliminary round will be against the U.S. on New Year's Eve, wrapping up the round-robin portion of the tournament. The tournament starts Boxing Day and wraps up with the bronze- and gold-medal games Jan. 5.

Canada and the U.S. are in Group A along with the Czech Republic, Germany and Kazakhstan and will play all of their games at Scotiabank Place.

'GROUP OF DEATH'

Group B, which is this tournament's equivalent of the soccer World Cup's "Group of Death," features Russia, Sweden, Finland and Latvia and will play its games at the Civic Centre.

The seedings are based on the final standings from last year's world junior championships.

Canada defeated Sweden in overtime to win the gold last January and Team Canada will be bidding for a record-tieing fifth gold in a row when it opens the tournament Dec. 26 against the Czech Republic.

Canada's other preliminary-round games see them play Kazakhstan Sunday, Dec. 28 at 3:30 p.m. and Germany Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

"There are some traditional rivlary matchups. It's a pretty good schedule for the fans," said Cyril Leeder, the vice-chair of the host organizing committee.

Ticket packages for the 31-game tournament are sold out, but Leeder said yesterday tournament organizers will be introducing a website where tickets not being used by the package-holders can be bought and sold.

There will also be an announcement in the coming weeks about a sponsorship program that will make some tickets available to the general public.

It's expected Team Canada will hold a development camp here at the end of July at either Carleton University or the University of Ottawa.

The team will hold its pre-tournament camp in Petawawa around Dec. 15-18 before going to Toronto to play some pre-tournament games.


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