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Kamloops' Hicketts on Team Canada roster

Selection camp opens Dec. 10 in Etobicoke, Ont.
December 1, 2015 5:57 P.M.
Defenceman Joe Hicketts of the Victoria Royals, who is from Kamloops, is bidding for a second stint with Canada's national junior team. (Photo: victoriaroyals.com)

Joe Hicketts of the Victoria Royals is one of 11 defencemen on the roster for Hockey Canada’s national junior team selection camp that opens Dec. 10 in Etobicoke, Ont.
Hicketts, who is from Kamloops, is one of three returnees from the team that won the gold medal at the 2015 World Junior Championship that was shared between Toronto and Montreal.
The 2016 WJC is scheduled to open in Helsinki, Finland, on Dec. 26.
“It’s an honour whenever you get the opportunity to represent you country and this is the first step of that process,” Hicketts told Andy Neal of Neal’s Notes, a blog that is available on the Royals’ website. “For me, it’s going to be about taking care of myself in these next couple days coming up. I know we have two gamers here with the Royals that I have to focus on and it’s going to be a couple of exciting weeks coming up.”
Forwards Brayden Point of the Moose Jaw Warriors and Lawson Crouse of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs are the only other players off last season’s roster to be on this year’s selection camp roster.
“We want to go in there and we want to set a pace and we want to set that standard where we know what to expect from last year and we know what it takes and what it feels like to win,” Hicketts told Neal. “I want to go into that camp and relay that message and really show the first year players not only what it takes to play at that level but to have some success.”
There are those who feel Hicketts may be named the captain of this season’s Team Canada, although some observers feel that honour may go to forward Jake Virtanen, a Calgary Hitmen product who is with the Vancouver Canucks. Hockey Canada is hoping to convince the Canucks to assign Virtanen and forward Jared McCann to Team Canada. However, Virtanen took a cross-check to the lower right rib area on Monday night and was scratched from a Tuesday night game against the Kings in Los Angeles.
The selection camp roster features 30 players — two goaltenders, 11 defencemen and 17 forwards. Eventually, Team Canada will have a 22-player roster, including seven defencemen and 13 forwards.
Forward Ryan Gropp of the Seattle Thunderbirds, who is from Kamloops, wasn’t named to the roster, nor were forwards Collin Shirley and Deven Sideroff of the Kamloops Blazers. All three played in both games of the Canada-Russia series.
The camp in Etobicoke runs through Dec. 14 and includes games on Dec. 12 and 13 against a team of all-stars from Canadian universities.
The WJC will run in Helsinki through Jan. 5.
In the 2015 tournament, Hicketts had three assists in seven games. In November, he played two games with Team WHL in the annual Canada-Russia series, recording two assists. He was Team WHL’s captain for the second game of the series, which was played in Kamloops.
This season with the Royals, he has 28 points, including 26 assists, in 27 games. On Nov. 20, he earned his 137th career regular-season point, setting a franchise record for defencemen.
 

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