EDMONTON – Hockey Canada announced at a press conference in Edmonton that it signed an agreement with the Czech and Slovak ice hockey associations to host the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in Edmonton in 2018, 2020 and 2022 while it will continue to be hosted in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in odd years.
The tournament owned by the Czech and Slovak ice hockey associations is considered as the most important U18 tournament leading up to the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship and is run annually in the month of August.
The tournament dates back to 1991 and has later been renamed to honour former Czech coach and player Ivan Hlinka. Hlinka, then the head coach of the Czech national team, died in a car accident in 2004.
“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,” said Hockey Canada President and CEO Tom Renney.
The Rogers Place, the new home of the Edmonton Oilers, will host the first three editions of the event on Canadian soil.
“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 and IIHF Vice President 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.”
The press conference took place with representatives from the Czech and Slovak ice hockey associations as well as Ivan Hlinka’s widow, Libena Hlinkova.
“My husband, Ivan Hlinka, lived for ice hockey and devoted his entire life to the game. I am sure he would be extremely proud that the tournament bearing his name will take place in the birthplace of hockey,” Hlinkova said. “I wish every player and spectator of the tournament great enjoyment, which I believe will be shared by thousands of fans around the world.”
The Czech Republic won the most recent edition in August while Canada is the record champion of the tournament with 20 titles.