June 23, 2004
Calgary, Alb. – Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League announced that Notre Dame defenseman Wes O’Neill (So., Essex, Ont.) is one of 44 players to be invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Development Camp that will be held in Calgary, Alberta from August 12-19. O’Neill is the lone college player on the 44-man roster that will participate in the Developmental Camp to be held at the Father David Bauer Olympic Arena.
The 44 players will be evaluated at the camp and monitored through the season prior in hopes of being invited to attend Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp in December. From there, a team will be selected to represent Canada in the 2005 World Junior Championships that will be held in Grand Forks, N.D., from Dec. 25, 2004 through Jan. 4, 2005.
O’Neill was a member of Canada’s Under-18 team last April at the Under-18 World Championship tournament held in Belarus. He scored a goal and added an assist in seven games as the Canadians advanced to the bronze medal game where they lost to the Czech Republic.
This is a busy week for the 6-4, 207-pound Irish blueliner who is ranked 23rd among North American skaters by the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Central Scouting going into this weekend’s NHL entry draft that will be held in Raleigh, N.C. He has the chance of becoming Notre Dame’s first-ever first-round draft choice and the highest any player has ever been selected (Rob Globke was picked 40th overall in the 2002 draft by Florida).
Born March 3, 1986, O’Neill played most of last season as a 17-year old at Notre Dame and had a strong freshman year, playing in 39 games with two goals and 10 assists for 12 points while leading all Irish defensemen with a +7 plus-minus rating.
Forty-two of the 44 players invited to the camp played in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) last season (23 in the Western Hockey League, 10 in the Ontario Hockey League and nine from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League). Only O’Neill and Travis Zajac (Junior A in the BCHL) played outside the CHL.
Twelve of the invitees played on last year’s silver-medal winning team that lost to the United States in the 2004 World Junior Championships and 12 others were teammates of O’Neill’s on the Under-18 team that participated in last April’s Under-18 World Championships.