YORKTON, SK – There are only three days left until the puck drops in Yorkton and Humboldt, SK at the first-ever World Junior A Challenge. The six-team tournament brings together the best 19-and-under players from the ten leagues that make up the Canadian Junior A Hockey League (CJAHL), along with international entries from Germany, Russia, Belarus and Slovakia.
Canada’s will send two entries to the event, with Team Canada West – made up of players from the B.C. Hockey League, Alberta Junior Hockey League, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, Manitoba Junior Hockey League, and Superior International Junior Hockey League – playing in Group A with Russia and Belarus, and Team Canada East – made up of players from the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League, Central Junior A Hockey League, Ligue de hockey junior AAA du Quebec, and Maritime Junior A Hockey League – playing in Group B with Slovakia and Germany.
This is the first time most Junior A players from across Canada have had the chance to complete internationally. Only three players amongst the 45 named to the Canadian rosters has any previous international experience: Kyle Turris (New Westminster, BC/Burnaby Express, BCHL) was a member of Canada’s National Under-18 Team that won gold at the Junior World Cup in the Czech Republic in August, and also played at the 2006 World Under-17 Challenge in Regina, SK, while Riley Nash (Kamloops, BC/Salmon Arm Silverbacks, BCHL) and Brendan Smith (Toronto, ON/St. Michael’s Buzzers, OPJHL) also took part in the U17 event in Regina.
“This is the best opportunity to date to showcase the Junior A talent that we have in Canada,” says Laury Ryan, president of the CJAHL. “We look forward to this becoming an annual event on the Hockey Canada calendar, and to continue to raise the profile of this level of hockey in our country.”
The week-long tournament culminates in the gold medal game on Sunday, November 12, which will be broadcast on tape delay on November 18 on TSN/RDS, the official broadcaster of Hockey Canada. Check your local listings for broadcast times in your area.
Hockey Canada, in partnership with the CJAHL, has now announced that all the games played at the Gallagher Centre in Yorkton, which includes all Group A games, one quarterfinal, both semi-finals and the bronze medal game, will be webcast live at www.hockeycanada.ca. The webcast is totally free of charge, and can be accessed from the front page of the Hockey Canada Web site.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring the excitement of the World Junior A Challenge to those hockey fans across Canada who won’t have the chance to see the games live,” says Lake. “This is our chance to show what Junior A players in Canada can do against some of the best competition in the world.”
Tickets are still available for both venues. In Yorkton, tournament packages are selling for $99, and can be purchased through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.ca, or by phone at 306-938-7800. In Humboldt, tournament packages go for $55, and can be bought at the Humboldt Broncos’ team office at 306-682-5575. Single-game tickets go on sale in both Yorkton and Humboldt beginning this weekend.