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Canada's Olympic men's hockey team a bit of a gang of misfits

Thirteen players are from the Russian KHL, three from Sweden, three from the American Hockey League, one from Austria, one from Germany and four from the Swiss league.

Quarterfinals are slated for Feb. 21, semifinals for Feb. 23, the bronze-medal match for Feb. 24, and the gold-medal game for Feb. 25.

That changes this year as the NHL announced last April the league would not release its players or schedule a break in the season so its players could participate.

"But for the players that are going there, they're playing for their country and it's still going to be a huge tournament, a lot of people watching and I think it's going to be a great tournament, even if the National Hockey League is not there".

The Canadian squad will open camp in 17 days in Riga, Latvia, where the team will spend eight days practicing and playing two exhibition games.

Burke didn't promise anything but "gold-medal effort" - which isn't exactly gold medal or bust.

"I have to thank (Hockey Canada) for the geography lesson and the air miles", said Burke, joking at a press conference Thursday.

Alan Smithee @oiler_country: "I do not care who's on it, as long as they represent who we are: Canadians". "There are some tremendous stories here, guys who have had adversity through some phase of their careers".

Training camp starts January 28 in Latvia for the Canadians.

The 2018 Winter Olympics open February 9 and close February 25. I think people can relate to our team and that we'll be part of the Canadian fabric.

The pool of players is limited because Pyeongchang Olympics will be the first Winter Games since 1994 without National Hockey League players.

With the opening ceremonies less than a month away, the Canadian Olympic Committee has yet to state what the Canadian team's medal target is for Pyeongchang.

All three played for Team USA at November's Deutschland Cup in Germany, the lone pre-Olympic tournament for the US men's national team.

The women's national team was announced December 22.

Gracenote predicted gold for bobsledder Kaillie Humphries, the Kevin Koe and Rachel Homan curling teams, figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond, moguls skier Mikael Kingsbury, snowboarder Max Parrot and the men's hockey team.

Elliott, a 26-year-old defenceman, starred with the North Van/Burnaby-based Northwest Giants of the BC Major Midget League before moving to Saskatoon to play WHL hockey with the Blades.

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