CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Junior Hockey League, announced Friday that Kindersley, Sask., will host the 2014 World Junior A Challenge from Dec. 14-20, 2014.
The 2014 tournament will mark the return of the World Junior A Challenge to the province of Saskatchewan for the first time since Yorkton and Humboldt hosted the inaugural event in 2006.
The 2014 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-place and third-place teams will crossover for the quarter-finals. The 2014 World Junior A Challenge will be based out of the West Central Events Centre, home of the SJHL's Kindersley Klippers, with surrounding communities also hosting games.
Ticket information for the 2014 World Junior A Challenge will be announced in the coming months.
"Few provinces in Canada have a Junior A hockey history like Saskatchewan, and we're thrilled to be taking the World Junior A Challenge back to the Prairies," said Bob Nicholson, president and CEO of Hockey Canada. "We're confident Kindersley will put on a world-class event and show our international visitors just what hockey means to small-town Canada."
"The CJHL continues to produce elite-level prospects and players, and the World Junior A Challenge is a tremendous opportunity to showcase the exciting talent developing at the Junior A level," said CJHL president and chairman Kirk Lamb. "Saskatchewan and the SJHL have a rich history of Junior A hockey and we are excited for our players, parents, scouts and fans to be able to take this world-class event to such a proud and storied hockey province and league."
"We are thrilled to host the 2014 World Junior A Challenge and look forward to welcoming the best Junior A players for an exciting week of hockey," said Rocky Perkins, chair of the host committee. "We are proud to welcome the players, their families and hockey fans from across Western Canada to our community during this exciting week. Along with the Klippers organization, other community and hockey partners and our dedicated Kindersley volunteers, we want to create an amazing experience for all fans and participants."
Since the first World Junior A Challenge in 2006, more than 100 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including 18 first-round selections (Beau Bennett, Alexander Burmistrov, Joe Colborne, Nikita Filatov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Dmitri Kulikov, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Elias Lindholm, Hampus Lindholm, John Moore, Vladislav Namestnikov, Riley Nash, Valeri Nichushkin, Dylan Olsen, Jordan Schmaltz, Jaden Schwartz, Brendan Smith, Kyle Turris, Alexander Wennberg, Andrei Vasilevski and Nail Yakupov).
Six of the seven gold medal games at the World Junior A Challenge have featured at least one Canadian team. Canada West won gold at the first two tournaments, in 2006 and 2007, before taking the top prize in 2011; it also earned silver in 2008, 2009 and 2012, and won bronze in 2013. Canada East was silver medallist in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011, and claimed bronze in 2008.
Kindersley joins Yorkton and Humboldt, Trail and Nelson, B.C. (2007); Camrose, Alta. (2008); Summerside, P.E.I. (2009); Penticton, B.C. (2010); Langley, B.C. (2011); and Yarmouth, N.S. (2012, 2013) as host cities for the World Junior A Challenge.