All but three of the group are playing overseas, including a group of forwards that will include Rene Bourque, Gilbert Brule, Brandon Kozun, Mason Raymond, Derek Roy and Linden Vey, who sits just six points out of the KHL's scoring lead. Hockey Canada execs were keen observers of the recent world junior tournament in Buffalo, but ultimately opted to go with players who had spent significant time together. They will take the place of National Hockey League stars who are not permitted to play in the Olympics for the first time since 1994.
Canada's head coach Willie Desjardins also hails from Climax, Sask.
And as unlikely as that might seem given the 25-man roster of European-based players Hockey Canada unveiled Thursday, Desjardins believes his crew will be armed with a work ethic capable of conquering all obstacles.
Nine former NCAA players are on the roster for Team Canada at the upcoming Winter Olympics, it was announced today. After helping the Canadians capture the gold medal at Davos, Switzerland, Kelly signed another PTO with the B-Sens and played for the club in a 3-2 O.T. win over Rochester Wednesday night in Belleville.
"I have to thank (Hockey Canada) for the geography lesson and the air miles", Burke joked at a press conference announcing the team. "When a Canadian team or a Canadian athlete is competing, you're always cheering them on".
More than 100 players participated in four pre-Olympic tournaments to help with the decision-making.
In fact, most fans shouldn't have troubles spotting players who may have played for their teams in the past.More news: Justin Timberlake stopping in Cleveland as part of North American tour
Goalies Justin Peters, Ben Scrivens and Kevin Poulin have 277 National Hockey League games between them, spread between eight teams.
Gragnani lasted 14 games in Vancouver in 2012, then played a season in the AHL with the Charlotte Checkers, before heading to the KHL, then the Swiss league, then a brief return to North America with the New Jersey and Albany Devils, then made his way back to the KHL for the past two seasons.
Training camp starts January 28 in Latvia. I think people can relate to our team and that we'll be part of the Canadian fabric.
Makar, a first-round NHL Draft pick last June, just won a gold medal with Team Canada at the World Junior championships.
Without NHL players Canada struggled to find the top of the Olympic podium, enduring a 50-year gold medal drought before finally reclaiming the crown of Olympic champions at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.
"We had all three at the Deutschland Cup ... and they've all had really solid years", said USA head coach Tony Granato.
Canada will be solid in goal, mobile on defence, skilled and experienced up front - and above all hard to play against, according to the team braintrust. "I think it's a challenge but we will represent Canada (well)".