Cutting his way to the 'Nux

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

James Demone made the cut. This week he'll try to make the Canucks.

While rookies reported to Vancouver Canucks' training camp yesterday, the most famous newcomer is coming to Burnaby 8-Rinks on Friday.

Demone, a 23-year-old from Lethbridge, Alta., was one of six players chosen to try out for Canada's National Hockey League teams at the end of the Bell Making the Cut reality TV show.

It's Demone's second chance at the NHL: Ottawa Senators drafted him in 2000's ninth round, but he didn't make it beyond the Western Hockey League. Demone was studying psychology at the University of Lethbridge when he decided to audition for Making the Cut.

"It was a little embarrassing watching myself on TV," Demone said.

Canucks' assistant general manager Steve Tambellini liked what he saw. So did Florida Panthers' general manager Mike Keenan, a guest coach on the CBC show. Demone signed a minor league deal with Florida and played for the American Hockey League's San Antonio Rampage and East Coast Hockey League's Texas Wildcatters last season.

Demone wants to use his size and skating ability to score a deal with the Canucks, who have defensive vacancies after the departures of Brent Sopel and Marek Malik.

"I've got to play tough and put passes on the tape and be an all-round good player," he said.

A behind-the-scenes look at Making the Cut alumni at NHL training camps will air in March 2006. Tryouts for the second season are slated for next May and June.

Vancouver's Derik Murray, Making the Cut's creator/executive producer, is pitching the concept to other sports leagues and broadcasters in the United States and England.


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