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Team North America forward Connor McDavid bounces a puck during the team's World Cup hockey practice Wednesday, September 7, 2016 in Montreal.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid was chosen Team North America's captain for the World Cup of Hockey on Thursday ahead of its first pretournament game.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier and Florida Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad were selected as alternate captains.

"On a team full of future NHL captains, we have a strong leadership group on Team North America," said Todd McLellan, Team North America head coach. "In particular, these three players – Connor, Sean and Aaron – have identified themselves in camp as key leaders for our team.

"They will be assisted by their teammates to ensure the full group is working together towards our goal of having success in the World Cup of Hockey."

The 19-year-old McDavid had 16 goals and 32 assists in 45 NHL games with the Oilers. The Richmond Hill, Ont., native was drafted first over all in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and he was a finalist for last season's Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.

Couturier, 23, has 56 goals and 101 assists in 350 NHL games with the Flyers. Born in Phoenix and raised in Bathurst, N.B., Couturier has the most NHL games played on Team North America's roster.

Ekblad, 20, has 27 goals and 48 assists in 159 career NHL games with the Panthers. The Windsor, Ont., native won the 2014-15 Calder Trophy after he was drafted first over all in 2014.

Team North America consists of the top players from Canada and the United States who are 23 or under as of Oct. 1, 2016.