CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), announced on Thursday that Summerside, P.E.I. will host the 2009 World Junior A Challenge from November 1-8, 2009, the first time in the four-year history of the tournament that it will be held east of Saskatchewan.
The 2009 World Junior A Challenge will follow the same format as previous years – two Canadian entries will be joined by four international teams, with two groups of three teams. The group winners will receive an automatic bye to the semifinals, while the second and third place teams will crossover for the quarter-finals. All 13 games of the 2009 World Junior A Challenge will take place at Credit Union Centre, home of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League’s Summerside Western Capitals.
A full schedule for the 2009 World Junior A Challenge, as well as the teams that will compete, will be announced in the near future.
“Canada’s Junior A leagues continue to develop world-class players, and the 2009 World Junior A Challenge will be a terrific showcase for that talent,” said Bob Nicholson, president and CEO of Hockey Canada. “We are excited to work with the CJHL on another World Junior A Challenge and continue the growth of the event.”
“The City of Summerside is excited to add another prestigious event to the list of regional, national and international events it has hosted,” said Basil Stewart, mayor of the City of Summerside. “The World Junior A Challenge allows us to bring some of the best young players in the world to the best Junior A fans in the world. The City of Summerside, Hockey PEI and the MJAHL are committed to making the 2009 World Junior A Challenge the best yet this November.”
“With the Summerside Western Capitals currently taking part in the MJAHL championship series and playing in front of an average of more than 3,400 hometown fans during this year’s playoff run, it is only fitting to announce prior to Game 3 of the Kent Cup Final on Thursday that the 2009 World Junior A Challenge is coming to our city,” said JP Desrosiers, chair of the host committee. “We could not be more honoured that Hockey Canada and the CJHL have decided to bring this event to Summerside.”
“Hockey PEI is honoured and excited to partner with the City of Summerside, the MJAHL, the CJHL and Hockey Canada to bring this prestigious event here to our province,” said Gordie Whitlock, president of Hockey PEI. “We look forward to showcasing many of the best Junior A players to the country in November.”
“This is a terrific step in the growth of the World Junior A Challenge, and the Canadian Junior Hockey League is excited to be a part of it,” CJHL chair Paul Lake said of the tournament heading east. “Our fans in Summerside and across the Maritimes will be treated to top-level hockey, and we cannot wait to bring it to them.”
In addition, the CJHL has announced the head coach and general manager of both Canada East and Canada West.
For the third consecutive World Junior A Challenge, Marty Abrams of the OJHL’s Wellington Dukes has been named general manager of Canada East. Abrams also served as an assistant coach at the inaugural tournament in 2006. Todd Gill of the CJHL’s Brockville Braves has been named Canada East head coach. Gill, who played parts of 20 seasons in the NHL, will make his first appearance at the World Junior A Challenge.
Leonard Strandberg, who served as general manager of Canada West at the 2008 World Junior A Challenge, will return in the same capacity for the 2009 tournament, while Rylan Ferster of the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, who was an assistant coach in 2008, while assume the head coaching duties for Canada West.
Since the first World Junior A Challenge in 2006 in Yorkton, Sask., the tournament has produced 30 NHL draft picks, including five first-round selections (Kyle Turris, Nikita Filatov, Joe Colborne, Riley Nash, Brendan Smith).
Summerside joins Yorkton, Trail, B.C. (2007) and Camrose, Alta. (2008) as host cities for the World Junior A Challenge.
Every gold medal game at the World Junior A Challenge has featured at least one Canadian team. Canada West won gold at the first two tournaments, in 20, before taking silver in 2008. Canada East was silver medalists in 20 and claimed bronze in 2008.