Taylor Hall Leads Canada in 2010 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships

Martin AverySenior Writer IDecember 21, 2009

RIMOUSKI, QC - MAY 24:   Taylor Hall #4 of the Windsor Spitfires raises the Memorial Cup after defeating the Kelowna Rockets during the 2009 Mastercard Memorial Cup Final at the Rimouski Colisee on May 24, 2009 in Rimouski, Quebec, Canada.  The Spitfires defeated the Rockets 4-1 winning the 2009 Memorial Cup.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Team Canada crushed Sweden 6-2 in a warm-up game for the 2010 IIHF world junior hockey championship, held in Canada this year, showing why the Canucks are expected to win gold for the sixth year in a row. 

For hockey fans who need a fix before the Olympic Winter Games, the IIHF showcases the best young hockey talent in the world with the Under-20 World Junior Championships in Saskatchewan.

The tournament starts on Boxing Day and climaxes on New Year's Eve.

There is no secret who the favourite is.

Canada has dominated the WJC, winning gold the past five tournaments and have meadled in 11 straight tournaments. Their 15 gold medals leads all countries in the tournament's 32-year history.

This year's squad features six returning members from last year's gold medal team and the player expected to be the #1 draft pick in the 2010 NHL entry draft.

Canada's roster of 22 players features 20 drafted into the NHL in the past two years.

Canada's top line features three players from the defending Canadian champion Windsor Spitfires, all are in the top ten in scoring in the Ontario Hockey League right now. 

Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique and Greg Nemisz from the Spitfires of the OHL sit one-two-three in scoring in the Ontario Hockey League.

Hall, 17, is expected by many to be the No. 1 pick in this year's NHL draft, leads the OHL in scoring.

Henrique and Nemisz are close behind him. Nemisz was the  Calgary Flames' first-round selection in 2008. Henrique was picked by the New Jersey Devils.

The six returning players, who won gold at last year's championship, are: Patrice Cormier of the Rimouski Oceanic; Stefan Della Rovere of the Barrie Colts; Jordan Eberle and Colten Teubert of the Regina Pats; Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires; and Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues.

London Knights centre Nazem Kadri, a first round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in June, is expected to be the team's second-line centre.

In goal will be Jake Allen of the Montreal Juniors and Los Angeles Kings' Martin Jones, currently playing for the Calgary Hitmen.

Jones will be joined by teammate Brandon Kozun, of the Hitmen, who currently leads the Western Hockey League in scoring.

The team also has Brayden Schenn of the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings; Gabriel Bourque of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar; Brandon McMillan of the Kelowna Rockets; Travis Hamonic of the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL; Marco Scandella, who plays for the Val-d'Or Foreurs in the QMJHL; Jared Cowen, who plays for Spokane Chiefs in the WHL, Calvin de Haan of the Oshawa Generals in the OHL, Gabriel Bourque plays for the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the QMJHL; Jordan Caron of the Rimouski Oceanic in the QMJHL; and Luke Adam played for the St. John's Fog Devils in the QMJHL, was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres, and now plays for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the QMJHL.

Patrice Cormier of the QMJHL's Rimouski Oceanic was named team captain.

The team has 8 players from the OHL, 6 from the QMJHL, and 8 from the WHL.

To help the team bond, Hockey Canada ran the 22-man roster through drills at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police academy in Regina, Saskatchewan. An RCMP Sergeant Major made them march, to help bring the team together.

Despite the fact the talent-rich team is expected to win the 2010 IIHF Junior World Championship, tactics like that show they are taking the task very seriously.