Blackhawk prospects prepare to take on the world

By Margaret Avila

Photo taken by Maggie Avila

The IIHF World Junior U20 Championships are getting ready to being held in Ufa, Russia. The tournament is schedule from 12/26/12 – 1/5/13 in what should be a very skilled, competitive global competition with teams represented from throughout Europe and North America.

The Chicago Blackhawks have several prospects that are currently invited by their countries national junior teams to participate in camps to make their national junior teams. Being invited alone is a great honor and achievement.

Team Canada has invited Phillip Danault of the QMJHL Victoriaville Tigres and Mark McNeill of the WHL Prince Albert Raiders. Both Danault and McNeill if they make the team will probably be team Canada’s third or fourth line centers with a possibility of them being moved to wing.

Danault and McNeill both would bring to team Canada a great two way game and defensive zone work. Both could be instrumental on penalty kills and face-off wins. Danault and McNeill both have had a great year in the CHL so far. With the NHL in current lockout status team Canada  is filled with NHLers so making team Canada will be very difficult for both Danault and McNeill but not impossible given their great two way games.

Danault currently is ranked 20th in the QMJHL amongst scorers with 40 points 14G & 26 A in 28 games. McNeill currently is ranked 15th in the WHL amongst scorers with 37 points 12G & 25 A in 32 games. His team the Prince Albert Raiders is currently ranked 1st in the East Division.

Maxim Shalunov has been invited to camp for team Russia. Shalunov is now playing in the KHL or Russia equivalent to the NHL. He now plays for the Traktor Chelyabinsk but has only played one game so far with no stats.  Prior to that, he tallied in 18 games 2G & 7A for 9 points in the VHL Chelmet Chelyabinsk and in 5 games 3G & 5A for 8 points for the MHL’s Belie Medvedi Chelyabinsk.

Shalunov impressed recently in the Subway Super Series held in Canada. He would have to be characterized in that series as the best Russian forward along with fellow Russian forwards Nail Yakupov,Mikhail Naumenkov and Andrei Sigarev all having 4points with 2 G and 2A.

Teuvo Teravainen  was invited to camp for the Finnish team. Teuvo has just returned from a month long absence due to a broken finger but looks like he has not skipped a beat.  Teuvo has only played in 23 games but has racked up 18 points 8G & 10A. Teuvo’s team Jokerit is currently in 1st place in the Finnish Elite League.

Congratulations to all the Blackhawks’ prospects on being invited to camp for an opportunity to represent your country in the IIHF World U20 Juniors, you should be proud.  Team Canada’s camp will begin this week. Chicago Blackhawk fans around the world are pulling for you guys to make your teams and represent well. Good Luck boys!

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