Countdown to Canada/Russia Super Series
By Brad Young
CHL hockey fans won’t have to wait much longer to get their junior hockey fix as the Canada/Russia Super Series will commence on August 27, 2007. This one-time eight-game series featuring the best Under – 20 players in Canada and Russia will take place from August 27th to September 9th. The Canada/Russia Super Series schedule of games is as follows:
• Game 1 – August 27, Ufa, Russia (7 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET, TSN/RDS)
• Game 2 – August 29, Ufa, Russia (7 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET, Rogers Sportsnet)
• Game 3 – August 31, Omsk, Russia (7 p.m. local, 8 a.m. ET, Rogers Sportsnet)
• Game 4 – September 1, Omsk, Russia (5 p.m. local, 6 a.m. ET, TSN/RDS)
• Game 5 – September 4, Winnipeg, MB (8 p.m. ET, TSN/RDS)
• Game 6 – September 5, Saskatoon, SK (8 p.m. ET, TSN/RDS)
• Game 7 – September 7, Red Deer, AB (10 p.m. ET, Rogers Sportsnet)
• Game 8 – September 9, Vancouver, BC (8 p.m. ET, Rogers Sportsnet)
Peter Loubardias (Rogers Sportsnet) will be the play-by-play voice for all eight games alongside Pierre McGuire (TSN) and Rinkside Reporter Ryan Rishaug. “I think it (Canada/Russia Super Series) has an opportunity to be really special,” spoke Loubardias. “Anytime you take Canada and Russia, teams that have met I believe five of the last six times in the gold medal final at the World Juniors and have them square off in an eight game series, with four games over their and four games back here, I just think the series has a tremendous amount of potential.”
With Team Canada carrying a 26 man roster for the Super Series as opposed to the 22 man roster which will represent Team Canada at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Czech Republic, Loubardias believes that these young men will be laying it all on the line knowing full well of the opportunity they’ve been presented with. “Four kids won’t go to the Czech Republic off this team,” said Loubardias. “It’s such an audition for the World Juniors and frankly I feel that this is going to be one of those events that you could really play yourself on the team or really play yourself off the team.”
One player in particular who understands what’s at stake from his past experiences at the international level is QMJHL star Angelo Esposito
of the Quebec Remparts. “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to obviously,” spoke Esposito from his residence in Quebec. “It’s a special eight games for sure and I’ve had my fair share of overseas experience, so I’m just going to come in here and try and help out the best that I can.” Esposito came off an impressive campaign with the Remparts last season recording 27 goals and 52 assists for 79 points in 60 games. Esposito was recently selected in the 1st round, 20th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in Columbus, Ohio.
Esposito is confident that Team Canada head coach Brent Sutter will have this team prepared to play when the first puck drops. “When it comes to tournaments like this, we’re really lucky to have a coach (Sutter) who has coached at high levels like this and will give us the opportunity to learn a lot,” commented Esposito. “It’s someone who you will take in his information and keep for the rest of your life.”
Team Canada will be departing to Russia on August 20th and will be begin practicing the very next day.
You can visit URL NAMEwww.hockeycanada.ca
for ticket inquiries for the four games scheduled in Canada.