WINDSOR, Ont. – The first puck is ready to drop at the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. All 10 teams will take to the ice for pre-tournament action Wednesday night before the tournament begins Thursday. The 27-game tournament will be centered out of Windsor but will feature games in La Salle and Tecumseh, while Amherstburg and Essex will host pre-tournament games on Wednesday.
The 10 teams are divided into two groups. Group A will feature Germany, Ontario, Pacific (Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Yukon), Sweden and West (Manitoba, Nunavut, Saskatchewan), while Atlantic (New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island), the Czech Republic, Quebec, Russia and the United States will comprise Group B.
The gold medal game on Wednesday, Jan. 4 will be broadcast on TSN/RDS, the official broadcaster of Hockey Canada. In addition, all other games will be available via webcast through FASTHockey at HYPERLINK "http://hockeycanada.fasthockey.com" \t "_blank" hockeycanada.fasthockey.com. Fans can watch all the action for free by following three steps:
STEP 1: Visit hockeycanada.fasthockey.com and sign up for a free FASTHockey account.
STEP 2: Like the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge on Facebook at www.facebook.com/worldu17.
STEP 3: Just prior to the game, click the HC on FASTHockey link on the U17 Facebook page to watch.
The event brings together the top players in the world born in 1995 or later. The under-17 program is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. Many players who compete at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge go on to represent Canada with the National Men’s Under-18 Team, National Junior Team and National Men’s Team.
Eighteen of the 22 players who were selected for Canada’s National Junior Team and are currently playing in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship in Alberta played at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and alumni of the tournament include past NHL first-overall picks Marc-André Fleury, Taylor Hall, Erik Johnson, Patrick Kane, Ilya Kovalchuk, Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Alexander Ovechkin, John Tavares and Joe Thornton.
Ticket packages are available for all games in Windsor, as well as the two partner venues.