The final roster for Hockey Canada’s 2009 World Junior Hockey team was announced early this morning and here were the final 16 cuts:

Memorial Cup winning netminder Tyson Sexsmith and Jake Allen; defencemen Travis Hamoic – who won gold with the under-18 squad – Kevin Marshall, Patrick Wiercioch, Jarred Spurgeon, Brendan Smith and Tyler Cuma, who suffered a knee injury during camp; forwards Evander Kane, Riley Nash, Jamie Arniel, Nazem Kadri, Matt Duchene, Brayden Schenn, Taylor Hall and Matt Calvert.

Not among those names: Chris Didomenico, the feel-good story of the kid who received a walk-on tryout with the Saint John Sea Dogs, made the team, became their leading scorer, got drafted by the Leafs 164th overall in 2007, becomes one of the QMJHL’s top scorers, and now gets to represent his country on junior hockey’s greatest stage. Quite the honour. Right from the beginning, Chris was a longshot to make the team, but after getting a shot to play alongside phenom John Tavares for the majority of camp, he really impressed the coaches with his work ethic, tenacity, two-way play, and contributed a goal in the final intrasquad game on Sunday. I’ve seen a number of Chris’ games for the Sea Dogs this season, and many Leaf fans were impressed with Chris’ play during the Leafs training camp and exhibition games as well.

It looks for the most part like Quinn has decided to go with veteran players for this tournament as the list of cuts includes many of the 2009 top draft prospects, Duchene, Schenn, and Kane (who scored 2 goals in the 2nd intrasquad game), but all of whom would have been hard-pressed to earn top 6 offensive spots. However, two of the top prospects did make the squad: John Tavares obviously (4 goals in 3 games), and interestingly, offensive defenseman Ryan Ellis, who currently sits 4th in OHL scoring. Much like last year with P.K. Subban, it’s not unlike Team Canada to employ a young offensive defenseman in the 7-8 spots.

The four returnees from last year’s squad are John Tavares, P.K. Subban, Zach Boychuk, and Thomas Hickey.

The other big headline was of course Angelo Esposito, who finally made the team during his 4th try, after being cut the previous 3 times. He’s been often criticized for his lack of work ethic and nonchalant mentality when it comes to hockey, but you’ve really got to tip your hat to the guy because he simply kept on coming back, despite the possibility of embarrassment should he have gone down as the first player ever to get cut 4 times by Hockey Canada. Congrats to you Angelo, because that took a lot of guts and courage.

From the Hockey Canada website, here’s what the final roster will look like:

Goaltenders/Gardiens de but
Chet Pickard L/G 6’1″ 216 11/29/89 Winnipeg, MB Tri-City (WHL) NSH ’08 (1, 18)
Dustin Tokarski L/G 5’11” 189 09/16/89 Watson, SK Spokane (WHL) TB ’08 (5, 122)
Keith Aulie L/G 6’6″ 215 06/11/89 Rouleau, SK Brandon (WHL) CGY ’07 (4, 116)
Ryan Ellis R/D 5’9.5″ 176 01/03/91 Freelton, ON Windsor (OHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Cody Goloubef R/D 6’1″ 194 11/30/89 Oakville, ON Wisconsin (WCHA) CBJ ’08 (2, 37)
* Thomas Hickey L/G 5’11” 194 02/08/89 Calgary, AB Seattle (WHL) LA ’07 (1, 4)
Tyler Myers R/D 6’7.5″ 213 02/01/90 Calgary, AB Kelowna (WHL) BUF ’08 (1, 12)
Alex Pietrangelo R/D 6’2.5″ 204 01/18/90 King City, ON Niagara (OHL) STL ’08 (1, 4)
* PK Subban R/D 5’11” 206 05/13/89 Toronto, ON Belleville (OHL) MTL ’07 (2, 43)
Colten Teubert R/D 6’3″ 189 03/08/90 White Rock, BC Regina (WHL) LA ’08 (1, 13)
Jamie Benn L/G 6’1.5″ 202 07/18/89 Victoria, BC Kelowna (WHL) DAL ’07 (5, 129)
* Zach Boychuk L/G 5’10” 175 10/04/89 Airdrie, AB Lethbridge (WHL) CAR ’08 (1, 14)
Patrice Cormier L/G 6’1.5″ 201 06/14/90 Cap-Pelé, NB Rimouski (QMJHL) NJ ’08 (2, 54)
Stefan Della Rovere L/G 5’11” 200 02/25/90 Maple, ON Barrie (OHL) WAS ’07 (7, 204)
Chris DiDomenico R/D 5’11” 170 02/20/89 Woodbridge, ON Saint John (QMJHL) TOR ’07 (6, 164)
Jordan Eberle R/D 5’10” 181 05/15/90 Regina, SK Regina (WHL) EDM ’08 (1, 22)
Tyler Ennis L/G 5’8″ 165 10/06/89 Edmonton, AB Medicine Hat (WHL) BUF ’08 (1, 26)
Angelo Esposito L/G 6’1″ 180 02/20/89 Montreal, QC Montreal (QMJHL) PIT/ATL ’07 (1, 20)
Cody Hodgson R/D 5’11” 189 02/18/90 Markham, ON Brampton (OHL) VAN ’08 (1, 10)
Brett Sonne L/G 6’0″ 187 05/16/89 Maple Ridge, BC Calgary (WHL) STL ’07 (3, 85)
* John Tavares L/G 6’0″ 203 09/20/90 Oakville, ON Oshawa (OHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Dana Tyrell L/G 5’9.5″ 182 04/23/89 Airdrie, AB Prince George (WHL) TB ’07 (2, 47)


Now let’s hear what you guys have to say! Congrats to Espo, Dido, and say hello to Team Canada 2009!!!

Always a pleasure,

Alex Tran

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