NELSON (B.C.) - Canada will face their American rivals and Japan will meet Finland on the opening of competition at the Air Canada Pacific Cup on Tuesday, August 13 in Nelson, B.C. The final will be challenged for on Sunday, August 18 at 7:30 pm in Nelson, B.C.
Canadian Hockey, Air Canada and the Ernie Gare Athletic Scholarship Society announced today the schedule for the Air Canada Pacific Cup, featuring national under-18 teams, in Nelson and Castlegar, B.C. from August 13-18, 1996.
The complete schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, August 13 - Japan vs Finland at 4 pm, Nelson; USA vs Canada at 8 pm, Nelson
Wednesday, August 14 - Finland vs USA at 4 pm, Nelson; Canada vs Japan at 8 pm,Nelson
Thursday, August 15 - Japan vs USA at 4 pm, Castlegar; Finland vs Canada at 8 pm, Castlegar
Saturday, August 17 - 3rd vs 2nd at 3:30 pm, Castlegar; 4th vs 1st at 7:30 pm, Castlegar
Sunday, August 18 - Bronze Medal at 3:30 pm, Nelson; Gold Medal at 7:30 pm, Nelson
Finland will be competing in their first Air Canada Pacific Cup, replacing three-time winner Russia, but they can also be considered as a favourite to win the 1996 competition.
"Finland's under-18 team tied Russia for first place in the medal round at the 1996 European U-18 Championship this past April, but took home second place because Russia had a better goals-for and goals-against differential," said Bob Nicholson, Canadian Hockey's senior vice-president of hockey operations.
"Their under-17 team lost 2-1 to Team Ontario in the gold medal game at the World Hockey Challenge in September, 1995," adds Nicholson. "There is no doubt that Canada, the United States and Japan will have their hands full with the European opponents."
Canadian Hockey will name the national under-18 team coaching staff shortly. The soon-to-be coaching team, along with Canadian Hockey's director of scouting Ray Payne, will announced their roster before the end of June. They will then take the team into the Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary for a pre-competition camp from August 7-10.
Only Canada and Russia, or the Soviet Union, has won the competition. The Soviets took the first title in 1991, with Russia claiming gold in 19. The Canadians were winners in 19. The Pacific Cup has been held only once outside Japan, and that was in 1994 when Mexico City welcomed international hockey.