Hockey Canada and Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG), with support from the Czech Ice Hockey Association and Slovak Ice Hockey Federation, announced today the former Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup has been renamed the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in preparation for its debut in Alberta this August.
The tournament will run from Monday, August 6 to Saturday, August 11, featuring 18 games over six days played at both Rogers Place in Edmonton, home to the Edmonton Oil Kings, including the gold-medal game on Aug. 11. Group B games will be played at the brand-new Servus Arena in Red Deer thanks to a partnership involving the Red Deer Rebels.
“The Rebels are extremely excited to partner in bringing another world class event to our fans in Central Alberta,” said Rebels’ owner and president Brent Sutter. “In the lead-up to the 2019 Canada Winter Games, the Hlinka Gretzky Cup provides another opportunity to put Red Deer on the international stage. The brand new Servus Arena provides the ideal player and fan experience as we bring this event to Canada for the first time.”
The Hlinka Gretzky Cup is one of the few best-on-best international hockey tournaments and features the premier under-18 players from some of the world’s greatest hockey nations – Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.
The majority of players participating in the tournament will be stepping onto the international stage for a second time in their WHL careers after participating in the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. In November 2017, 23 WHL players participated in the tournament, with six winning silver. WHL players Sasha Mutala (Tri-City Americans), Peyton Krebs (Kootenay ICE), and Braden Schneider (Brandon Wheat Kings) captained the three Canadian squads at the tournament as well.
Many tournament alumni have gone on to become stars of the National Hockey League (NHL), including Sidney Crosby, Patrik Laine, and Steven Stamkos. Edmonton Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom, Jesse Puljujarvi, Zack Kassian, Kris Russell, and Michael Cammalleri have all represented their countries in the tournament. Most recently, highly-touted Swedish defenceman Rasmus Dahlin, a top-rated NHL prospect for the 2018 draft, played in the 2016 tournament.
Historically, Canada has dominated the tournament with 21 gold medals in 27 years. Including the Soviet Union’s 1991 victory, Russia has won gold three times, while Sweden, the United States, and most recently, the Czech Republic, have secured one gold medal apiece.
“This is an important event for players as they progress through Canada’s Program of Excellence, and we are thankful to the Czech Ice Hockey Association and Slovak Ice Hockey Federation for their partnership in bringing this best-on-best, high-calibre event to Canada,” said Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer at Hockey Canada. “The rebranding of the event to honour two national hockey heroes reinforces how special this truly is, and we look forward to building on this event’s legacy for years to come.”