October 4, 2012, Calgary, 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 2012 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup will take place November 1 – 4, 2012 at the Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary, Alberta.
The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup 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 open Thursday, November 1 and conclude on Sunday, November 4, 2012, is the first step in the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence and assists the four Western Provincial Hockey Associations in evaluating these top prospects in this age group for future high performance programs. The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup is made 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 2012 and many of these top young prospects will play major roles on WHL Clubs in the seasons ahead.
The first ever Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup was held in Blackfalds, Alberta in 2009 and featured four of the top eight players selected in the 2012 NHL Draft; Matt Dumba (Red Deer Rebels), Derek Pouliot (Portland Winterhawks), Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings) and Morgan Reilly (Moose Jaw Warriors). Last year the WHL, along with the Moose Jaw Warriors and Saskatchewan Hockey Association, hosted the 2011 event at Mosaic Place in downtown Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The event featured many future stars who are now entering their rookie season in the WHL including 2011 WHL Bantam Draft first round picks; Jake Virtanen (1st overall, Calgary Hitmen), Brycen Martin (2nd overall, Swift Current Broncos), Ryan Pilon (3rd overall, Lethbridge Hurricanes), Jordan Thomson (4th overall, Kamloops Blazers) and Reid Duke (5th overall, Lethbridge Hurricanes).
“The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup will showcase the top ranked 15-year-old players from each province and will be one of the most significant hockey events in Western Canada this season,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “This will be the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence for players in this age group and a high level competition such as this will definitely assist with their development as a player.”
The WHL is also pleased to announce the Team Manitoba and Team Saskatchewan rosters, coaches and support staff for the upcoming 2012 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup.
The Team Alberta and Team B.C. rosters will be unveiled at a media conference in Calgary at the Father David Bauer Arena on Tuesday, October 16, more details to follow.
The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup tournament will feature two games each day with the opening games scheduled for Thursday, November 1. The Gold and Bronze Medal match ups will be featured on Sunday, November 4. All games will be played in Calgary, Alberta at the Father David Bauer Arena with the finalized schedule to be released next week.