SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – Some of the world’s top young hockey players have gathered in Summerside for the 2009 World Junior A Challenge, which kicks off with a pair of games on Sunday, Nov. 1 and runs until Sunday, Nov. 8.
Two-time gold medalist Canada West takes on Russia in Sunday’s early game (2 p.m. AT), while host Canada East faces last year’s champions, the United States, at 7 p.m. AT. Those four teams are joined by Belarus and Sweden to round out the six-team field. All 13 games at the 2009 World Junior A Challenge will take place at Credit Union Place in Summerside.
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.
The gold medal game, which will be shown nationally on TSN/RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, is set for Sunday, November 8 (check your local listings). All preliminary round games, quarter-finals, semifinals and the bronze medal game can be seen live via webcast through FASTHockey at hockeycanada.fasthockey.com.
The 2009 World Junior A Challenge marks the first time in the event’s four-year history that it is being held east of Saskatchewan. Summerside joins Yorkton and Humboldt, Sask. (2006), Trail and Nelson, B.C. (2007) and Camrose, Alta. (2008) as host cities.
Since the first World Junior A Challenge in 2006 in Yorkton, Sask., the tournament has produced 30 NHL draft picks, including eight first-round selections (Kyle Turris, Nikita Filatov, Dmitri Kulikov, Joe Colborne, Riley Nash, John Moore, Brendan Smith, Dylan Olsen).
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.
Jason La Rose, Hockey Canada’s coordinator of communications/content development, will be on-site during the 2009 World Junior A Challenge for any tournament information or media requests. He can be reached at (403) 703-8791, or at email@example.com.