TRURO, N.S. – Following two successful runs in Yarmouth, N.S., in 2012 and 2013, the international showcase of Junior A hockey talent returns to the East Coast for a third time as Truro hosts the World Junior A Challenge from Dec. 10-16, 2017, at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre, home of the Truro Bearcats.
Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), Maritime Hockey League (MHL), Hockey Nova Scotia, and the local host committee as well as NHL Central Scouting, are eager to give fans from across the country a chance to watch the best hockey from two Canadian teams – representing East and West – as well as four international teams that will be vying for a gold medal.
“It’s an exciting opportunity returning to Nova Scotia with a world-class event such as the World Junior A Challenge,” said Dean McIntosh, senior director of events and properties with Hockey Canada. “With strong legacies left behind from our two previous events in Yarmouth, we once again look forward to supporting the community and minor hockey growth and development programs following this year’s tournament.”
The World Junior A Challenge has historically had an economic impact of over $3 million to host communities.
“Truro has a history of supporting events and we want that tradition to continue when we host the world in December,” said Dave Ritcey, chair of the local host committee. “With early support from the community at large and funding partners, we believe participating teams will leave with a positive impression of the area they won’t soon forget. Our group is extremely excited about the opportunity to bring such a high level of hockey to the area; both the legacy of this tournament as well as the economic impact for our region will leave an impression on the community for a long time.”
“I would like to thank our dedicated staff and host committee for their hard work in helping to secure this elite level event for our community,” said John Kelderman, board chair, Rath Eastlink Community Centre. “I have no doubt our state-of-the-art facility will be greatly complimented by our local hospitality and love for the game.”
The United States captured its seventh gold medal at the 2016 World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, Alta., and since its inception in 2006, more than 230 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including 36 first-round selections (Beau Bennett, Brock Boeser, Alexander Burmistrov, Dennis Cholowski, Joe Colborne, Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers, Dante Fabbro, Nikita Filatov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Denis Guryanov, Tyson Jost, Dmitri Kulikov, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Elias Lindholm, Hampus Lindholm, John Moore, Vladislav Namestnikov, Riley Nash, Valeri Nichushkin, Dylan Olsen, David Pastrnak, German Rubtsov, Ilya Samsonov, Jordan Schmaltz, Nick Schmaltz, Jaden Schwartz, Brendan Smith, Evgeny Svechnikov, Vladimir Tarasenko, Kyle Turris, Alexander Wennberg, Andrei Vasilevski, Jakub Vrana, Nail Yakupov and Jakub Zboril).
The host organizing committee is also looking for over 100 volunteers in all areas from game operations to ticket sales to ensure all teams and fans visiting Truro have a memorable experience.
“Every year fans are treated to world-class hockey from the six competing teams,” said CJHL chairman Kirk Lamb. “It’s exciting to return to Atlantic Canada and again showcase some of the best Junior A talent and future NHLers to hockey fans.”
“The Maritime Junior Hockey League is proud to see another one of its member communities hosting a prestigious event in 2017,” said MHL president Brian Whitehead. “Given Truro’s history of hosting other high-profile events, plus the past success of other Maritime towns and cities as host of the World Junior A Challenge, we know we’ll be able to celebrate another memorable tournament for all involved.”
Nine of the 11 gold-medal games at the World Junior A Challenge have featured at least one Canadian team. Canada West won gold at the first two tournaments, in 2006 and 2007, and also took home gold in 2011 and 2015. The team also won silver medals in 2008, 2009, 2012 as well as bronze in 2013. Canada East won silver medals in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2016, as well as claiming the bronze medal in 2008.
World Junior A Challenge legacy
In recognition of the long-term service by past Hockey Canada board member, and Hockey Nova Scotia president/Life Member, the late Jed Ritcey, a former Truro resident, the 2017 World Junior A Challenge will serve as the catalyst for the establishment of the Jed Ritcey Legacy Fund. This legacy will provide additional funding opportunities to support local minor hockey development, future event-hosting and capital upgrades to local rinks in Colchester County.
Nova Scotia is already benefitting from the 2012 and 2013 World Junior A Challenges with legacy funds benefitting the Yarmouth County Minor Hockey Association for equipment, as well as player-and coaching-development, while also supporting Hockey Nova Scotia for the development of clinics and coaching camps to strengthen minor hockey coaching resources in the Yarmouth area.