Wednesday, September 16, 2009 @ 3:50pm
Red Deer, AB – The four Western Provincial Hockey Associations – Hockey Alberta, BC Hockey, Hockey Manitoba and the Saskatchewan Hockey Association – in partnership with the Western Hockey League (WHL) are pleased to announce that a new competition has been created for the top players in the Under 16 level of the Program of Excellence in Western Canada.
The new competition – the Western Canada Under 16 Challenge Cup – will be held just north of Red Deer in Blackfalds, Alberta and will feature the highest rated players in the Under 16 age category representing the four Western Provinces of Alberta, BC, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The four team round robin tournament format, which will be held October 28 to November 1, 2009 at the Blackfalds Multiplex, will assist the four Western Provincial Hockey Associations evaluating these top prospects for future Program of Excellence competitions.
The first ever Western Canada Under 16 Challenge Cup has been possible through financial support provided by the WHL. The majority of the players participating in the event were selected in the WHL Bantam Draft in June, 2009 and many of these top young prospects will play major roles on WHL Clubs in the seasons ahead.
“The WHL is very pleased to partner with the four Western Provincial Hockey Associations in sponsoring the first ever Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “This event will serve as an important step in the development process as the top players in this age group prepare to enter the WHL and the next levels of the Program of Excellence.”
The Town of Blackfalds and Blackfalds Minor Hockey Association will work together with Hockey Alberta, the WHL and the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels franchise to ensure the event is hosted at the highest possible standard.
“We are extremely excited to host this inaugural event and we thank the WHL for working with the Western Branches to make this tournament possible,” said Rob Litwinski, General Manager, Hockey Alberta. “Thanks to support from the Town of Blackfalds and Blackfalds Minor Hockey Association, we think this venue will create a terrific atmosphere for all the teams while giving Hockey Alberta the chance to showcase our home-grown talent right in our own backyard.”
“I am very proud of the volunteers of Blackfalds Minor Hockey Association and the staff from the Town of Blackfalds for all their hard work in securing this prestigious event,” commented the Town of Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol, “The support and encouragement we received from the WHL and Hockey Alberta is greatly appreciated. This is an exciting opportunity to promote Blackfalds and will have a significant impact on tourism and local business. Our entire community is looking forward to showcasing our town and Central Alberta to the players, their families and hockey fans from across Western Canada.”
The Western Canada Under 16 Challenge Cup tournament will feature two games each day with the opening game scheduled for 4:00pm on Thursday, October 29. The final playoff matches will be held on Sunday, November 1 at 11:00am and 2:00pm. All games will be played at the Blackfalds Multiplex (12km North of Red Deer).
During the tournament all players will have the opportunity to tour the Red Deer Centrium, home of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels and attend a WHL game Saturday night between the hometown Rebels and the Everett Silvertips.
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