CALGARY, AB – With the Canadian Junior A Hockey League season set to kick off this weekend, players on all of the CJAHL’s 142 teams have more than just a berth in the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup to play for.
From November 6-12, 2006, Canada’s best Junior A players will converge on Yorkton and Humboldt, Saskatchewan for the first-ever World Junior A Challenge, held in partnership between Hockey Canada and the CJAHL. The event marks the first time Junior A players will have the chance to compete on an international stage.
The CJAHL representatives will be split into two teams, with Team Canada West – represented by the British Columbia Hockey League, Alberta Junior Hockey League, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, Manitoba Junior Hockey League and Superior International Junior Hockey League – and Team Canada East – represented by the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League, Central Junior Hockey League, Ligue de Hockey Junior AAA du Quebec and Maritime Junior A Hockey League – joining national teams from Belarus, Slovakia, Russia and Germany for the seven-day tournament.
Team Canada West will be led by Director of Operations Darcy Rota, of the 2006 RBC Royal Bank Cup champion Burnaby Express of the BCHL. He will be joined on the West staff by Head Coach Boris Rybalka (Camrose, AJHL), assistant coaches Bruno Campese (Penticton, BCHL), Dwight McMillan (Weyburn, SJHL) and Ken Pearson (Winnipeg South, MJHL), along with equipment manager Ron Holloway (Yorkton, SJHL) and team therapist Don Pindus (Weyburn, SJHL).
Team Canada East’s Director of Operations will be Paul Currie of the Yarmouth Motor Mart Mariners of the MJAHL. Currie will be joined on the East staff by Head Coach Jerome Dupont (Aurora, OPJHL), assistant coaches Troy Ryan (Pictou County, MJAHL) and Marty Abrams (Wellington, OPJHL), along with equipment manager Darren Allan (Calgary Royals, AJHL) and team therapist Bill O’Connor (Lloydminster, AJHL).
The individual coaching staff members, along with the Director of Operations, will scout training camps and games in their regions, and the staffs as a whole will invite 22 players to training camp, which will take place in the days leading up to the event in Nipawin, SK (Team Canada East) and Weyburn, SK (Team Canada West).
Both teams will play exhibition games prior to the tournament before the tournament opens November 6, when Team Canada West takes on Russia in Yorkton. Team Canada East opens up the following night, November 7, when they face Slovakia in Humboldt.
Ticket packages for the 2006 World Junior A Challenge are now on sale for all games at the Gallagher Centre in Yorkton, by phone at 306-783-3909 during regular business hours or online at www.hockeycanada.ca. Packages for Yorkton are $99 (plus GST) for eight games: four round robin games, two semi-final games, and the medal games. Seats for individual games will only be available 48 hours prior to the start of the tournament.
Ticket packages for the four Humboldt round robin games are on sale at the Humboldt Broncos’ office at 306-682-5575. Humboldt packages are $55 (GST included) for the four round robin games to be played at the Elgar Petersen Arena.