Canada are set to take part in the Karjala Cup next month ©Hockey Canada

Hockey Canada have announced a 26-man squad for the Karjala Cup as they continue to assess players before the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.

The National Hockey League (NHL) has ruled against interrupting their domestic season meaning that, for the first time since Nagano 1998, no players from the competition are due to participate at the Olympics.

It is still theoretically possible that they could change their mind but International Ice Hockey Federation President René Fasel has previously admitted to insidethegames it will take a "miracle" for this to happen.

The NHL’s decision has led to Hockey Canada assessing a wide variety of players, as they seek to defend their Olympic title in South Korea.

They took part in two week-long competitions in Russia during August as part of the evaluation process, but they will now contest the Karjala Cup at Helsinki in Finland and Biel in Switzerland.

Competition will take place between November 8 to 12, with Sweden also joining the two hosts and Canada.

“We are bringing together a group of players who are on our radar for the upcoming Olympic Winter Games as part of our ongoing evaluation process, with the goal of fielding the best possible team next February,” said Sean Burke, general manager.

“These 26 players are part of the larger group that is still under consideration for the Olympic team; 10 of these players were not with us in August in Russia, while others who remain under consideration won’t join us next month due either to their being unavailable, or because we feel we already have a good sense of where they could fit with our team.

“As a management group and coaching staff, our priority is putting the best possible team together, and we will continue to evaluate every Canadian player that’s eligible to represent their country at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games to ensure we give ourselves the best possible chance for success in South Korea.”

Canada have won gold in men's ice hockey at the last two Winter Olympics ©Getty Images
Canada have won gold in men's ice hockey at the last two Winter Olympics ©Getty Images

Wojtek Wolski, Mason Raymond, Derek Roy, Brandon Kozun, Eric O’Dell, Gilbert Brulé, René Bourque and Matt Ellison have been included in the squad as forwards.

They will be joined by Quinton Howden, Dylan Sikura, Andrew Ebbett, Matt Frattin, Christian Thomas and Rob Klinkhammer.

Karl Stollery, Zach Whitecloud, Chay Genoway, Chris Lee, Maxim Noreau, Simon Després, Jesse Blacker, Geoff Kinrade and Mat Robinson have been chosen in defence.

The goaltenders for the tournament will be Justin Peters and Ben Scrivens.

They will be hoping to impress the management team, including head coach Willie Desjardins, as the players seek to put themselves in contention for the Olympic squad.

Canada are due to begin the defence of their Olympic men’s title against Switzerland.

The Group A clash is due to take place at the Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 15, which will mark the second day of competition in the men’s tournament.

It will be held at the same time as the other Group A encounter between Czech Republic and hosts South Korea at the Gangneung Hockey Centre.

The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics are due to take place between February 9 and 25.