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The Hlinka Gretzky Cup is an annual international under-18 ice hockey tournament administered by Canada, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia's ice hockey federations. Held since 1991, it has been contested under various titles and in various countries, including Japan, Mexico, and Canada. From 1997 through 2017, hosting duties for the event alternated between, and were later split between, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. During this period, the event was known as the Nations Cup, the U-18 Junior World Cup, and Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. From 2018 through 2022, the tournament will alternate between Edmonton, Canada and Czech Republic/Slovakia.

The event is not sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), which holds its own U-18 championship in April. As that event conflicts with Canadian Hockey League (CHL) playoffs, the Hlinka Gretzky Cup is one of the few opportunities for Canada to compete with its strongest U-18 national team. Canada has subsequently been the most dominant team in the tournament, having won 22 times.

The tournament is a prominent pre-season showcase for National Hockey League (NHL) prospects; 17 players on Canada's winning team from 2017 were selected with first-round picks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.[1]

Contents

HistoryEdit

The tournament started in 1991, hosted by Japan for the first three years, as well as the fifth. In its first year, it was known as the Phoenix Cup, after which the Pacific Cup moniker was adopted (with the exception of 1994, when Mexico served as the host country and the tournament was known as La Copa Mexico). In 1996, the tournament was first held in Canada. Beginning in 1997, just four years after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia began alternating as hosts, and the tournament was renamed the Nations Cup. The two countries alternated until 2003, then co-hosted from 2003 through 2017. At this time, it was also renamed the U-18 Junior World Cup. In 2007, the event was renamed the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in honour of prominent Czech player Ivan Hlinka] (who had died in a vehicle accident in 2004).[1]

Historically, the tournament has been dominated by Canada; over 27 years, the country has won 22 times and medalled in each year except 2003, 2007, and 2016. As the IIHF's official U18 world championships conflicts with playoffs in domestic competitions such as the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), this tournament is the only competition of the two to which Canada is able to send its best under-18 team.

In January 2018, Hockey Canada announced that the event had been renamed the Hlinka Gretzky Cup (additionally honouring Edmonton Oilers alumnus Wayne Gretzky), and that the 2018 edition would be hosted by Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta, in association with Oilers Entertainment Group and the Czech and Slovak ice hockey federations.[2] The tournament will alternate between Edmonton and Czech Republic/Slovakia annually through 2022.[1][3]

ResultsEdit

Year Gold Silver Bronze Venue
1991   Soviet Union   Canada   United States Sapporo / Yokohama
1992   Canada   Russia   Japan Tokyo
1993   Russia   United States   Canada Yokohama
1994   Canada   United States   Russia Mexico City
1995   Russia   Canada   United States Yokohama
1996   Canada   United States   Finland Nelson / Castlegar
1997   Canada   Czech Republic   Slovakia Jihlava / Žďár nad Sázavou / Znojmo
1998   Canada   Czech Republic   Slovakia Bratislava
1999   Canada   United States   Czech Republic Havlíčkův Brod / Třebíč / Znojmo
2000   Canada   United States   Czech Republic Kežmarok
2001   Canada   Czech Republic   Russia Kolín / Mladá Boleslav / Nymburk
2002   Canada   Czech Republic   Russia Břeclav / Piešťany
2003   United States   Russia   Czech Republic Břeclav / Piešťany
2004   Canada   Czech Republic   Sweden Břeclav / Hodonín / Piešťany
2005   Canada   Czech Republic   Finland Břeclav / Piešťany
2006   Canada   United States   Russia Břeclav / Piešťany
2007   Sweden   Finland   Russia Hodonín / Piešťany
2008   Canada   Russia   Sweden Hodonín / Piešťany
2009   Canada   Russia   Sweden Břeclav / Hodonín / Piešťany
2010   Canada   United States   Sweden Břeclav / Piešťany
2011   Canada   Sweden   Russia Břeclav / Piešťany
2012   Canada   Finland   Sweden Břeclav / Piešťany
2013   Canada   United States   Czech Republic Břeclav / Piešťany
2014   Canada   Czech Republic   United States Břeclav / Piešťany
2015   Canada   Sweden   Russia Břeclav / Bratislava
2016   Czech Republic   United States   Russia Břeclav / Bratislava
2017   Canada   Czech Republic   Sweden Břeclav / Bratislava
2018   Canada   Sweden   Russia Edmonton / Red Deer
2019

Medal leadersEdit

Country Gold Silver Bronze Medals
  Canada 22 2 1 25
  Russia /   Soviet Union 3 4 9 16
  United States 1 9 3 13
  Czech Republic 1 8 4 13
  Sweden 1 3 6 10
  Finland 0 2 2 4
  Slovakia 0 0 2 2
  Japan 0 0 1 1

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Hlinka Gretzky Cup the first step to possible NHL stardom". Edmonton Sun. 2018-08-04. Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  2. ^ "HLINKA GRETZKY CUP COMING TO ROGERS PLACE AND SERVUS ARENA IN RED DEER". Hockey Canada. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  3. ^ s.r.o., eSports.cz,. "Hlinka Gretzky Cup introduced in Edmonton". Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup official website. Retrieved 2018-08-11.

External linksEdit