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Canadian Press
Dec 11, 2006, 10:34 PM EST


CALGARY (CP) - He goes in an unknown and comes out with his name in lights.

That's routinely been the case for Canada's starting goaltender at the world junior hockey championship. Justin Pogge became a household name after playing every minute of Canada's gold-medal effort in Vancouver in January.

Jeff Glass was equally famous after backstopping his country to gold in Grand Forks, N.D., at the 2005 tournament.

When you're Canada's No. 1 goalie, not only does everybody know your name, but if you're not yet drafted or signed to a contract by an NHL team, it increases your stock in both cases.

"We all want that No. 1 spot and we're going to do whatever it takes," said Leland Irving of the Everett Silvertips. "It would be a huge stepping stone in our careers to be able to have that starting goaltender for the world junior team in our background."

Irving is one five goaltenders invited to Canada's selection camp but only two will represent their country at the 2007 world junior tournament in Sweden.

Only four goalies were on the ice Monday as Steve Mason of the London Knights continued to be sidelined with concussion-like symptoms.

Defenceman Kris Russell did not skate either to rest his sore groin and is not expected to practise Tuesday.

Trevor Cann of the Peterborough Petes arrived in Calgary at 1 a.m. local time Monday and was on the ice at 9:30 at Father David Bauer Arena following his last-minute invitation to camp.

Carey Price of the Tri-City Americans, Jonathan Bernier of the Lewiston Maineiacs and Irving bring a combination of excellent statistics with their club teams, plus previous international experience with Canada's under-18 teams, to the selection camp.

They are first-round draft picks of their NHL clubs. Price is property of the Montreal Canadiens, Bernier belongs to the Los Angeles Kings and Irving is a Calgary Flames prospect.

Price, the oldest at age 19, was cut from the Canadian team last year but comes to this selection camp with more confidence because of a stronger start to his season with the Americans.

"I feel like I'm coming in on a higher note than I was last year," Price said.

Mason is the dark-horse invite because he lacks international work and is in his first year as the Knights' starter. And he needs to get on the ice and prove himself as the Canadian team will be named Friday.

Head coach Craig Hartsburg said Mason be put through some goaltending drills Tuesday with goalie coach Corey Hirsch, but Mason won't practise with the rest of the players.

"We'll see how he does and we'll see if we put him in Thursday for part of a game, but we haven't made that decision yet," Hartsburg said.

The International Scouting Service ranks Cann as the best goaltending prospect for the 2007 NHL entry draft.

At 17, he'll have future opportunities to play for Canada and thus doesn't feel the same pressure as Price and 18-year-olds Bernier and Irving.

"There's probably a few people that don't really expect me to make it," Cann said. "It does relieve a lot of pressure because I can just do what I can do."

While Bernier would be eligible to play for Canada in the 2008 world junior championship, he feels a sense of urgency to make the Canadian team now.

"It's something for us, at our age, it's kind of the Stanley Cup," Bernier said. "I'm going to do anything to make it."

Goaltenders tend to look the same in drills so it's the intra-squad games Tuesday and Wednesday and an exhibition contest Thursday against university all-stars where the goalies will win or lose a job on the Canadian team.

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