Hockey fans in London, ON have to be excited about what the 2008 World Under-17 Challenge holds in store, in light of last weekend’s NHL Entry Draft.
Twenty of the 30 players taken in the first round played in either the 2006 World Under-17 Challenge in Regina, SK or the 2005 World Under-17 Challenge in Lethbridge, AB.
Further, nine of the first 10 picks are former participants of that tournament, including Calgary’s Thomas Hickey, who played for Team Pacific in 2006. Hickey was selected fourth overall at the NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings.
Other Canadians taken in the first round who played in the World Under-17 Challenge include Kyle Turris (2006, Team Pacific), Karl Alzner (2005, Team Pacific), Sam Gagner (2006, Team Ontario) and Zach Hamill (2005, Team Pacific).
Of the 211 players selected in the draft, 52 competed at the 2006 World Under-17 Challenge.
The event is the first step of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence, which also includes the National Under-18 Team and National Junior Team.
The 2008 World Under-17 Challenge will be held in London, ON from to . This year’s tournament may be one of the most competitive to date, as Russia will return for the first time since 2004.