Team Canada is getting its 2013 World Junior team into game shape well ahead of the holidays.
Hockey Canada announced Friday that its top World Junior eligible prospects will play a four-game series - dubbed the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge - in mid-August in lieu of its annual summer evaluation camp.
The series will comprise two games on Canadian soil and two games in Russia over the span of less than a week. The two Canadian dates will be played Aug. 13 and 14 at the Halifax Metro Centre.
Those games will be preceded by a pair of games in Yaroslavl, Russia, on Aug. 9 and 10.
The event is being held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series and will also pay tribute to the city of Yaroslavl, which was devastated by the loss of 36 Lokomotiv players and coaches in a tragic plane crash last summer.
Canada's roster for the Challenge will be comprised of 30 players hand-selected by head scout Kevin Prendergast.
Team Canada's staff will closely monitor the series to get an early evaluation on its crop of players eligible for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, scheduled for Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia.
Canada's final 22-man World Junior roster will be selected after an additional evaluation camp in December, before pre-tournament play kicks off in mid-December.