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Blazer Lipon makes Team Canada
JC Lipon has made Team Canada.
The lone Kamloops Blazer invited to the national junior hockey team's evaluation camp in Calgary survived the second and final set of cuts on Thursday, Dec. 13, and will join his teammates as they leave for Ufa, Russia, this weekend, home of the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships.
The list of 37 players invited to the camp, which wrapped up on Thursday, included 21 forwards, 12 defencemen and four goalies.
After two rounds of cuts, 23 players made the squad.
Lipon was alone on the list of previously draft-eligible players at selection camp without an NHL team.
After the first scrimmage among prospective world-junior players, TSN analyst and former NHLer Ray Ferraro singled out Lipon's play, lauding his "feisty" third period.
Now that he will wear the Maple Leaf in Russia, Lipon will not be back in the Blazers' lineup until Jan. 9, when Tri-City visits Interior Savings Centre.
Through 34 games this season, the right winger is plus-23 and has 22 goals and 35 assists for 57 points, second in the Western Hockey League behind teammate Colin Smith's 61 points.
Team Canada will fly to Finland on Saturday, Dec. 15, and will play two exhibition games in Helsinki before the tournament begins in Russia.
Canada's first game will take place on Dec. 26 when the squad faces Germany in a 1:30 a.m. game.
Canada's other round-robin games include a Dec. 28 tilt against Slovakia (1:30 a.m.); a Dec. 30 match against the U.S. (1:30 a.m.); and a Dec. 31 contest against Russia (6 a.m.).
All games will be broadcast live on TSN.
The tourney's playoff round will begin on Jan. 2.
The 10-team tournament is divided into two groups: Group A has Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Czech Republic and Switzerland Group B houses Canada, U.S., Russia, Slovakia and Germany.