Delta and Langley will host some of the world’s top under-17 hockey players this fall for an international tournament twice cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this month, Hockey Canada announced the dates and host communities for six events taking place during the 2022-23 season, starting with the 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge Nov. 5-12 at the Langley Events Centre and Sungod Arena in North Delta.
The tournament, which features three Canadian teams and five international entries, is meant to showcase “the future stars of the game,” according to the event’s website.
The 2019 event — held in Medicine Hat, Alta. and Swift Current, Sask. — saw the three Canadian teams and one each representing Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and U.S. play 22 games over eight days, with some games broacast on TSN and others streamed on Hockey Canada’s website. Russia beat the Americans for gold, while Czech Republic took home bronze.
In early 2020, Hockey Canada was considering a joint bid to host the 2021 event in North Delta, Langley and Chilliwack. However, when COVID-19 hit, the pandemic forced the cancellation of that year’s tournament (scheduled to take place Oct. 31 to Nov. 7 in Charlottetown and Summerside, P.E.I.) and put future plans on hold.
The event was again cancelled in 2021 and replaced with the one-off Capital City Challenge, a six-day tournament featuring three men’s U17 teams and Canada’s national women’s team that served as part of the latter’s preparation for the Winter Olympics in Beijing two months later.
Since its inception in 1986, more than 1,800 NHL draft picks have played in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (previously called the Quebec Esso Cup), including stars Patrick Kane, Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Alex Ovechkin.
Other events on Hockey Canada’s schedule for 2022-2023 are the 2022 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup (Nov. 27-Dec. 3 in Bridgewater, N.S.), the 2022 World Junior A Challenge (Dec. 11-18 in Cornwall, Ont.), The Esso Cup (National Women’s U18 Club Championship, April 23-29 in Prince Albert, Sask.), the Telus Cup (National U18 Men’s Club Championship, April 24-30 in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.) and the Centennial Cup (National Junior A Championship, in Portage la Prairie, Man., in May).
“We are excited to announce the host communities for six events taking place in 2022-23, and we cannot wait to bring some of the top hockey events in the world to fans across Canada,” Dean McIntosh, vice-president of events and properties for Hockey Canada, said in a press release. “Hosting events of this magnitude would not be possible without our incredible local partners, and we are very grateful for their support as we count down to puck drop.”
Tickets are available now for the 2022 World Junior A Challenge at hockeycanada.ca/tickets, while on-sale dates for the other events have yet to be announced.
— with files from Tom Zillich