Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will get his opportunity to play with the Canadian national junior hockey team.
One of the final cuts off the junior team in 2010, Nugent-Hopkins was named to this year's 23-man team that will compete for the International Ice Hockey Federation title in Ufa, Russia later this month. The announcement was made last Thursday at the conclusion of the selection camp.
The first overall pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft by the Edmonton Oilers, Nugent-Hopkins played in just one of the three games at last week's national team selection camp in Calgary, suggesting last year's NHL rookie of the year finalist was a shoo-in for a spot on this year's junior team.
On the Friday, Nugent-Hopkins was named the captain of Team Canada. Scott Harrington (Kingston, Ont./London, OHL) and Jonathan Huberdeau (St-Jérôme, Que./Saint John, QMJHL), both players from last year's Team Canada squad, were named assistant captains.
Nugent-Hopkins scored 18 goals and registered 32 assists in 62 games in his rookie season with the Oilers last year.
Four other members of this year's national team roster - Dougie Hamilton (Toronto, Ont./Niagara, OHL), Boone Jenner (Dorchester, Ont./Oshawa, OHL), Mark Scheifele (Kitchener, Ont./Barrie, OHL) and Ryan Strome (Mississauga, Ont./Niagara, OHL) - were on Canada's junior national team last year that earned the bronze medal at the world junior championships held in Alberta.
This year, Canada is entered in a tough Pool B alongside Russia and the United States. The Canadians open pool play against Germany on Boxing Day, Dec. 26.
The medal finals will be played on Jan. 5, including the gold-medal game.
Canada has medalled at 14 consecutive world junior championships, including consecutive gold-medal performances from 2005 to 2009.
The junior national team won silver medals in 2010 and '11, and a bronze medal last year.