SARNIA, Ont. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced Thursday the three Canadian rosters for the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, scheduled for Nov. 2-8 in Sarnia-Lambton, Ont. The tournament will be the first to feature three Canadian national teams – Black, Red and White. From 1986 to 2014, Canada was represented by five regional teams: Atlantic, Ontario, Pacific, Quebec and West.
“It is an exciting day for Hockey Canada and the Program of Excellence,” said Scott Salmond, vice-president of hockey operations and national teams with Hockey Canada. “This is a tremendous group of 66 players we have named today, and we’re confident they will represent their country with pride and passion as we kick off a new era for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.”
The 66 players were selected by Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada’s director of player personnel, together with Joël Bouchard, a member of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence management group, and regional scouts Donald Audette (Quebec), Brad McEwen (West), Kevin Mitchell (Atlantic) and Kyle Raftis (Ontario).
Players were evaluated with their club teams early in the 2014-15 season, at Canada’s national under-17 development camp in Calgary, Alta., in August, and during the 2013-14 season, including at three regional under-16 events: the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup, OHL Gold Cup and QMJHL Excellence Challenge.
The 24-game World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will be centered out of the RBC Centre, home of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, but will also feature games at The Shores Recreation Centre in Lambton Shores, Ont. Those two communities, along with Petrolia, Ont., and Watford, Ont., will host pre-tournament games on Oct. 31.
The 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will bring together the top players in the world born in 1998 or later. The 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 Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team, National Junior Team and National Men’s Team.
Since the first under-17 tournament (then known as the Quebec Esso Cup) in 1986, more than 1,300 NHL draft picks have played, including 11 of the last 14 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; Nathan MacKinnon, 2013; Aaron Ekblad, 2014).
For more information on the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, please visit http://www.hockeycanada.ca/wu17, or follow along via social media at www.facebook.com/worldu17 or http://www.twitter.com/hc_wu17