Canada wraps up ice hockey camp dreaming of gold

Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:08am EDT
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By Steve Keating

CALGARY (Reuters) - The Canadian men's ice hockey team completed a four-day orientation camp with an energetic intra-squad game on Thursday, before bidding farewell until the start of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in February.

A capacity crowd of more than 19,000 packed into the Saddledome on a sweltering summer night to watch the Olympic auditions, providing players with a rousing send-off as they scattered across North American to join their NHL teams.

While hockey-mad Calgarians were able to enjoy some off-season action, they left the rink with little idea as to who will be on the Olympic team after the camp wrapped up without a roster or team captain announced.

Team Canada officials, however, declared the gathering a roaring success and believe solid foundations have been laid to capture the gold medal the nation covets most.

"I think for the most part we accomplished most of the things we had hoped to and talked about," Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman told reporters.

"I'm hopeful after tonight when the players leave they have a good understanding of everything we are going to be doing.

"This is really our only opportunity to apply those things.

"After today we will have one full practice on February 15 before we play our first game against Norway."   Continued...

<p>Head coach Mike Babcock (C) gives instructions to Jarome Iginla (R) and Martin St-Louis during their exhibition game against the Red team at Team Canada's Olympic hockey training camp in Calgary August 27, 2009. REUTERS/Todd Korol</p>