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Angelo Esposito had failed in his last three attempts to make the junior national team. ((Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press))

The Canadian team that will compete in the world junior championship in Ottawa this month is the first of its kind.

The final 22-man roster, announced Monday, includes 12 forwards and eight defencemen whereas previous editions have sported 13 forwards and seven defencemen.

Ontario Hockey League star John Tavares, who will spearhead the Canadian offence, is one of four players returning from last year's squad. The others are defencemen Thomas Hickey and P.K. Subban, and forward Zach Boychuk.

Angelo Esposito will lace up, too. The centre made the team after being cut in his three previous attempts.

Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires will be the first 17-year-old defenceman to play for the Canadian junior team since Jay Bouwmeester in 2001. He's expected to be a power-play specialist.

Ellis and Tavares are eligible for next year's draft. Nine players on the squad were first-round draft picks in 2007 or 2008.

Chet Pickard and Dustin Tokarski will be Canada's goaltenders at the tournament, which runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.

Team Canada kicks off the tournament with a game against the Czech Republic on Boxing Day. Canada has won the last four world junior titles and landed on the podium in each of the last 10 tournaments.

The juniors will play exhibition games in the Toronto area starting on Friday, when they take on Sweden.

Team Canada includes:

FORWARDS

  • Angelo Esposito (Montreal Juniors)
  • John Tavares (Oshawa Generals)
  • Tyler Ennis (Medicine Hat)
  • Jamie Benn (Kelowna Rockets)
  • Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge Hurricanes)
  • Patrice Cormier (Rimouski Oceanic)
  • Stefan Della Rovere (Barrie Colts)
  • Chris DiDomenico (Saint John Sea Dogs)
  • Jordan Eberle (Regina Pats)
  • Cody Hodgson (Brampton Battalion)
  • Brett Sonne (Calgary Hitmen)
  • Dana Tyrell (Prince George Cougars)

DEFENCEMEN

  • Keith Aulie (Brandon Wheat Kings)
  • Ryan Ellis (Windsor Spitfires)
  • Cody Goloubef (Wisconsin Badgers)
  • Thomas Hickey (Seattle Thunderbirds)
  • Tyler Myers (Kelowna Rockets)
  • Alex Pietrangelo (Niagara Icedogs)
  • P.K. Subban (Belleville Bulls)
  • Colten Teubert (Regina Pats)

GOALIES

  •  Chet Pickard (Tri-City Americans)
  • Dustin Tokarski (Spokane Chiefs)