EDMONTON, Alta. – Hockey Canada is bringing one of the premier, international best-on-best hockey tournaments to the country. Working in collaboration with the City of Edmonton, Province of Alberta, and Oilers Entertainment Group, Hockey Canada has confirmed that Edmonton will host the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in 2018, 2020, and 2022.
Owned and produced by the Czech Ice Hockey Association and the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation, the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup was first introduced in 1991. The tournament honours its namesake and national team and NHL player and coach, Ivan Hlinka – considered one of the most important figures in Czech hockey history. The annual summer tournament brings together eight of the top hockey nations in the world to compete in a best-on-best, men’s under-18 competition.
Hockey Canada, whose National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team has won the annual event 20 times and captured two silver medals and one bronze since 1991, has struck an agreement with the Czech Ice Hockey Association and the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation to host the tournament on Canadian ice on a bi-annual basis, beginning in 2018.
“The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup is a significant event on our calendar for many reasons, the first of which is that it honours a great player and coach who was taken from us far too soon,” said Tom Renney, president and chief executive officer of Hockey Canada, at a news conference in Edmonton on Monday. “The event itself is uniquely positioned on the calendar to truly allow for all of the participating nations – and for the hundreds of NHL scouts who are attracted to the event – to take part in a best-on-best competition with the top under-18 players from around the world.
“This is a significant event for Hockey Canada in terms of our players’ progression through the Program of Excellence, and the identification of Canada’s National Junior Team prospects. But just as importantly, the opportunity to host this world-class event on Canadian soil speaks to our relationship with our counterparts in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as the reputation our country has built for successfully hosting international hockey events. This is a great responsibility, and not one we take lightly – and we’re grateful for the support of the City of Edmonton, the Province of Alberta, and Oilers Entertainment Group in bringing the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup to Canadian ice.”
The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup is traditionally held in August, and Hockey Canada expects the regional economic impact of hosting in Edmonton could top $5 million based on the results from hosting similar events of this size and scope.
“Canada is the home of hockey, and I’m thrilled that the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, as we know it today, will be played in our country for the first time right here in Edmonton,” said Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Responsible for Sport. “The best under-18 players will be hitting the ice showcasing their skills and talent for the world to see. This prestigious event will draw tourists from around the world, and will be a great boost to our economy. This is an exciting day for our city, province, and country.”
Renney added that proceeds from the 2018, 2020, and 2022 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cups will be re-invested into grassroots hockey in Alberta.
“Edmonton has become an internationally-renowned sports city and centre of excellence. We’re proud to build on this reputation as we host the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “With enthusiastic fans, a state-of-the-art arena and a passion for hockey, Edmonton welcomes the opportunity to showcase our city to the world.”
The new home of the Edmonton Oilers will host the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup during its first three years on Canadian ice. The state-of-the-art facility was officially opened on Sept. 8, 2016, and features 1.1 million-square-feet of seating and amenities that blend the history of the NHL franchise within its modern design.
“We are thrilled to partner with Hockey Canada, the Czech Ice Hockey Association, the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation and our local partners to bring the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup to Edmonton and to our spectacular, new venue Rogers Place, in the heart of ICE District,” said OEG CEO & vice-chair, Bob Nicholson. “The competition on the ice will be matched with hospitality and attention to ensuring the players, coaches, scouts, families and fans are treated to an amazing experience.”
Details on event dates and tickets will be announced at a later date.