CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with Hockey Quebec, announced Tuesday that Victoriaville and Drummondville, Que., will host the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge from to , marking the fifth time in the tournament’s 27-year history that it will be held in Québec.
The 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will follow the same format as previous years, with five Canadian entries (Atlantic, Ontario, Pacific, Quebec, West) being joined by five international teams, with two groups of five teams. The top two teams from both groups will advance to the semifinals, while the remaining three teams from both groups will cross over for placement games.
The 27-game tournament will be based out of the Colisée Desjardins in Victoriaville, home of the Victoriaville Tigres, and the Centre Marcel Dionne in Drummondville, home of the Drummondville Voltigeurs, both of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Ticket information for the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will be released at a later date.
“It is a great honour for our communities, Victoriaville and Drummondville, to host the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge,” said Jérôme Mésonéro, president of the host committee. “Our host committee, in partnership with Hockey Québec and Hockey Canada, will put in place an extraordinary event for all the fans and players.”
Québec last hosted the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in 1994 in Amos, where the host province won the gold medal. Québec has won the tournament on three occasions; it also won gold in 1986 in Quebec City, Que., and 2006 in Regina, Sask.
“The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge gives many up-and-coming young players the chance to showcase their skills on an international stage for the first time,” said Bob Nicholson, president and CEO of Hockey Canada. “We look forward to Victoriaville and Drummondville, two great junior hockey towns, hosting this prestigious event, which represents an important step in our Program of Excellence for participating Canadian players.”
Since the first World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (then known as the Québec Esso Cup) in 1986, more than 1,100 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including nine of the last 10 first-overall selections (Ilya Kovalchuk, 2001; Rick Nash, 2002; Marc-André Fleury, 2003; Alexander Ovechkin, 2004; Erik Johnson, 2006; Patrick Kane, 2007; John Tavares, 2009; Taylor Hall, 2010; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011).
The 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will bring together the top players in the world born in 1996 or later. The regional 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.