Hockey Canada has begun the process of cutting down its World Junior selection camp roster as five players, including forwards Sean Monahan, Francis Beauvillier and Tyler Graovac as well as defencemen Adam Pelech and Derrick Pouliot were released from the squad on Wednesday in the first round of cuts.
Thirty-one players remain in camp, including four goaltenders, 10 defencemen and 17 forwards.
"You're just sitting there waiting, hoping you don't get that phone call. It's pretty touch, nerve-wracking,” said Pouliot, the Pittsburgh Penguins' eighth overall pick from this past summer's NHL Draft. "There's a lot of good D-men at this camp and the coaches had to make the decisions and unfortunately I was one of the guys who got let go."
For Beauvillier and Graovac, their World Junior deam ends without a chance to represent their country, as both were born in 1993 and will be ineligible for the 2014 tournament. Pouliot still has one year of eligibility as does Monahan, who was one of four players in camp who will be eligible for the NHL Draft for the first time in 2013.
Beauvilier and Pelech were selcted by the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders respectively in the 2012 NHL Draft, while Minnesota selected Graovac in the seventh round in 2011.
Canada will take a 23-man squad to Ufa, Russia to compete in the 2013 tournament.
Earlier in the day, the Canadian Junior team lost to The University of Alberta 4-1 at Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary in their first pre-tournament competitive game.
A dozen players among the 36 invited to camp sat out the game, including Edmonton Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Canada's National Junior Team will be finalized on Thursday and will depart for Europe on Saturday to play two pre-competition games in Helsinki prior to the 2013 World Junior Championship.
Canada will play its first tournament game on Boxing Day against Germany 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.