CALGARY, Alta. – Two Canadian teams – Canada Black and Canada White – will face off in the opening game of the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Oct. 30 – Nov. 7. Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League, and B.C. Hockey released the tournament schedule outlining how the games will be divided between the host cities of Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C.
The 22-game tournament will officially kick off Nov. 1 at the Encana Events Centre in Dawson Creek with Canada Black taking on Canada White, while Canada Red opens its tournament against Finland at the North Peace Arena in Fort St. John. Both cities will also host two pre-tournament games on Oct. 30.
“This tournament is a chance for hockey fans in northern British Columbia to see some of the best young players in the world,” said Dean McIntosh, senior director of events and properties with Hockey Canada. “We know the host committees in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John are excited to welcome the hockey world, and the announcement of the schedule gets us that much closer to puck drop.”
Beginning Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, hockey fans around the world can purchase their early-bird ticket packages for $159. Dawson Creek packages include 14 games (two pre-tournament games, six preliminary round games, two quarter-finals, fifth-place game, semifinal, bronze-medal game, gold-medal game), while Fort St. John packages include 12 games (two pre-tournament games, six preliminary round games, two quarter-finals, seventh-place game, semifinal), as well as the bronze-medal and gold-medal games in Dawson Creek.
The three Canadian teams will be joined by the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden, and the United States, forming two groups of four teams. All eight teams will qualify for the quarter-finals, with the winners advancing to the semifinals, and losers facing off in placement games.
The four quarter-finals will be held on Thursday, Nov. 5 with two games in Dawson Creek and two games in Fort St. John. Semifinals will be played on Friday, Nov. 6, with one game in each host city.
The gold medal game is Saturday, Nov. 7 in Dawson Creek at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT, and will be shown on TSN and RDS, Hockey Canada’s official broadcasters, along with the bronze-medal game and the semifinal played in Dawson Creek. All other tournament games, including 12 preliminary-round games, four quarter-finals, two placement games and the semifinal played in Fort St. John, will be available live through FASTHockey webcasts at www.hockeycanada.ca/wu17.
The 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge brings together the top players in the world born in 1999 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 the National Men’s Under-18 Team, National Junior Team, and National Men’s Team.
Since the first World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (then known as the Quebec Esso Cup) in 1986, more than 1,500 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including 12 of the last 15 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; Connor McDavid, 2015).