Team Canada's quest for gold began Monday with the announcement of its selection camp roster for the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship.
Thirty-seven of Canada's top junior-aged players have been invited to take part, including returnees Dougie Hamilton, Scott Harrington, Jonathan Huberdeau, Boone Jenner, Mark Scheifele and Ryan Strome.
"I'm very excited. A chance to represent your country; there's nothing better," Scheifele said of his invitation. "After getting bronze in last year's world juniors, you're definitely eager to win the gold and I'm going to do whatever it takes to make that team. And if I make it, I'm going to do whatever it takes to win gold."
Other invitees include Edmonton Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and 2013 NHL draft prospects Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads.
"There's many players that would be in the NHL right now if they were playing but it's not and the one upside from that is that we're going to have a strong world junior team," MacKinnon said. "Its definitely awesome to have lots of players playing for our country and hopefully get a gold medal."
Nugent-Hopkins, who is playing with the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons during the NHL lockout, was among the last nine players cut from Hockey Canada's 2010 World Junior camp.
He is in Edmonton having his shoulder examined, but is expected to join the Canadian team. "It is contingent on his health. At this point I think (the examination) is precautionary," said Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada's senior director of operations. "He played on the weekend and flew in so I think it was always in the plans. Our thoughts is he'll be here on the 10th of December ready to roll."
Click here (http://www.tsn.ca/world_jrs/feature/?id=81742) for the full selection camp roster.
MacKinnon and Drouin aren't the only players representing the next NHL draft class, as Ottawa 67's forward Sean Monahan, Kamloops's J.C. Lipon and Hunter Shinkaruk of the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers will be attending camp as well.
"I know it's not going to be an easy team to make, especially with this lockout, so I have to show my stuff in camp," Shinkaruk said. "All I can do know is play like I've played all year and hopefully that will be enough to make this team."
Other players up front include Rimouski's Francis Beauvillier, Anthony Camara of the Barrie Colts, Owen Sound's Daniel Catenacci, Victoriaville's Phillip Danault, Ottawa forward Tyler Graovac, Charles Hudon of Chicoutimi, Prince Albert's Mark McNeill, Portland's Ty Rattie, Brett Ritchie and Colton Sissons of the Niagara IceDogs and Plymouth Whalers winger Tom Wilson.
On defence, Mathew Dumba - who was cut from last year's World Junior team - will get another shot, along with Carolina Hurricanes prospect Ryan Murphy of the Kitchener Rangers. Everett Silvertips defenceman Ryan Murray, who played on last year's squad, is unavailable due to an injury.
Also on the blue line are Frank Corrado of the Sudbury Wolves, Blainville-Boisbriand's Xavier Ouellet, Adam Pelech of the Erie Otters, Portland's Tyler Wotherspoon and Derrick Pouliot, Griffin Reinhart of the Edmonton Oil Kings, Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman Morgan Rielly and Ryan Sproul of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
"It's a great roster and whether you're a forward or goalie or defenceman, it's going to be a hard team to make," Rielly said on Monday.
There will be four new faces battling for jobs in goal, including Boston Bruins first-rounder Malcolm Subban of the OHL's Belleville Bulls, Jake Peterson of the Saginaw Spirit, Jordan Binnington of the Owen Sound Platers and Edmonton Oil Kings netminder Laurent Brossoit.
"Obviously there's a lot of pressure on all Canadian guys going to the camp," Subban said. "My job hasn't changed from Belleville to Team Canada. My job is to win every night and I'm going to do that. Obviously they've watched me and the like what I do, so I just have to bring it to that stage."
In total, 31 of the players named to the selection camp roster were drafted in either the 2011 or 2012 NHL Entry Drafts, including 14 first-round selections and eight second-round picks.
Camp begins next Monday in Calgary. Canada's National Junior Team will be finalized on Thursday, Dec. 13 and will depart for Europe on Dec. 15 to play two pre-competition games in Helsinki prior to the 2013 World Junior Championship.
Canada will play its first game of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia on Boxing Day against Finland at 4am et/1am pt, a game that will be broadcast live on TSN.
Canada has medalled at 14 consecutive World Junior Championships, including gold medal performances in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, silver medals in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010 and 2011 and bronze medals in 2000, 2001 and 2012.