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Canadian Press
Dec 15, 2006, 11:44 AM EST

CALGARY (CP) - Kristopher Letang has been named captain of the Canadian junior hockey team.

The Val-d'Or Foreurs defenceman will lead the 22 players named to the squad Friday into the 2007 world junior championships in Leksand and Mora, Sweden. Canada will chase a third straight gold in the world junior tournament and opens defence of its title Dec. 26 in Leksand against the host Swedes.

Letang, a Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick, is one of 11 players on the team that won gold in the 2006 tournament in Vancouver.

Head coach Craig Hartsburg named four alternate captains who will rotate: Steve Downie of the Peterborough Petes, Jonathan Toews of the University of North Dakota, Marc Staal of the Sudbury Wolves and Tom Pyatt of the Saginaw Spirit.

Six players were released Friday morning to conclude selection camp in Calgary, leaving two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards on the team of mostly 19-year-olds.

London Knights forward Sam Gagner is the youngest on the team at 17.

Toews, Everett Silvertips goaltender Leland Irving, Calgary Hitmen defenceman Karl Alzner and forward Brad Marchand of the Val-d'Or Foreurs are all 18.

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