For Canada's national junior team, the road to Buffalo will begin in Newfoundland.
Players vying to make Team Canada will take the first step toward the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo when they meet for a development camp in St. John's, Newfoundland this week. TSN will air stories on SPORTSCENTRE and video features on TSN.ca.
Head coach Dave Cameron of the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors will lead 46 players through practices, and two intrasquad games at the camp, which starts Wednesday at Mile One Centre.
Tyler Seguin, drafted second overall by the Boston Bruins in June, will be the most notable player on the ice. Recently signing his first NHL contract; a three-year, entry-level deal, he will attend the session in Newfoundland before heading to Bruins' training camp.
''Last night, I got home and sat down with the family to sign it all off,'' the 18-year-old Brampton, Ontario native said on Tuesday. ''And today it was already announced. I thought it was going to be released later this week but it's nice to have it over with.
''It's one step closer to my dream,'' Seguin added. ''It's nice to get that stuff out of the way and I don't have to worry about it being signed or anything like that. I can just be focused and have a good experience here this week.''
Seguin participated in last year's evaluation camp but did not make the final squad.
''Any time [you can] represent your country, it's a pretty big honour,'' said Seguin. ''I think also, coming here against the best players in Canada and being able to see where I'm at and keep developing my game against the best is an experience I don't want to turn down.''
Also in attendance is forward Louis Leblanc, a first-round draft pick in 2009 who recently signed a three-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens. As well, Brendan Gallagher, a forward for the Vancouver Giants and the Canadiens' 2010 draft pick, will be on the ice this week.
''We're pretty excited to come into town; we've all met each other and the day's start for us tomorrow,'' Gallagher said. ''The excitement level is pretty high right now.''
Erik Gudbranson, the Florida Panthers' third overall draft pick this past June, is thrilled to have the opportunity to don the red and white.
''Whenever I'm named to a Hockey Canada roster or invited to a camp like this, it's an extreme honour,'' the Ottawa native said. ''This is playing for your country and I think especially the under-20's, the country supports this so greatly. They're going to be tuning into every single thing we do and every single move we make. To be under that microscope is a huge honour.''
Maple Leafs fans can also look out for Toronto's latest draft choice, Portland forward Brad Ross, who was chosen 43rd overall. The camp may also offer a sneak peek at a potential top selection in the 2011 NHL draft: Drummondville forward Sean Couturier.
Edmonton Oilers top pick Taylor Hall has elected to skip the camp to focus on his bid to make the NHL roster, and therefore won't be eligible to make Canada's national junior team. Windsor defenceman Ryan Ellis is also skipping the camp but will still be considered for the junior team because he is a two-time member of the squad.
There were three late additions to the camp roster to replace Hall, Ellis and Spokane defencemen Jared Cowen, who will attend camp but won't be available for on-ice contact due to his recovery from mononucleosis. The trio includes Saint John defencemen Nathan Beaulieu, Sault Ste. Marie blueliner Brock Beukeboom, and Owen Sound forward Joey Hishon.
Approximately 35 players will be invited to a selection camp in December. Cameron and his assistants will then pick 22 players to represent Canada in Buffalo.
Canada's run of five gold medals in the tournament ran out in the 2010 tournament in Saskatoon, when the host team lost the gold-medal game to the U.S. in overtime.
The Canadian team will open the preliminary round against Russia on Dec. 26 on TSN and TSN HD.