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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 29 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 4th Host Cities
1991   Soviet Union   Canada   United States   Japan   Sapporo / Yokohama, Japan
1992   Canada   Russia   Japan   United States   Tokyo, Japan
1993   Russia   United States   Canada   Japan   Yokohama, Japan
1994   Canada   United States   Russia   Japan   Mexico City, Mexico
1995   Russia   Canada   United States   Japan   Yokohama, Japan
1996   Canada   United States   Finland   Japan   Nelson / Castlegar, British Columbia, Canada
1997   Canada   Czech Republic   Slovakia -   Jihlava / Žďár nad Sázavou / Znojmo, Czech Republic
1998   Canada   Czech Republic   Slovakia   Belarus   Bratislava, Slovakia
1999   Canada   United States   Czech Republic   Slovakia   Havlíčkův Brod / Třebíč / Znojmo, Czech Republic
2000   Canada   United States   Czech Republic   Slovakia   Kežmarok, Slovakia
2001   Canada   Czech Republic   Russia    Switzerland   Kolín / Mladá Boleslav / Nymburk, Czech Republic
2002   Canada   Czech Republic   Russia    Switzerland  /  Břeclav, Czech Republic / Piešťany, Slovakia
2003   United States   Russia   Czech Republic   Canada  /  Břeclav, Czech Republic / Piešťany, Slovakia
2004   Canada   Czech Republic   Sweden   United States  /  Břeclav/Hodonín, Czech Republic / Piešťany, Slovakia
2005   Canada   Czech Republic   Finland   Russia  /  Břeclav, Czech Republic / Piešťany, Slovakia
2006   Canada   United States   Russia   Sweden  /  Břeclav, Czech Republic / Piešťany, Slovakia
2007   Sweden   Finland   Russia   Canada  /  Hodonín, Czech Republic / Piešťany, Slovakia
2008   Canada   Russia   Sweden   Finland  /  Piešťany, Slovakia / Břeclav, Czech Republic
2009   Canada   Russia   Sweden   United States  /  Břeclav, Czech Republic / Piešťany, Slovakia
2010   Canada   United States   Sweden   Czech Republic  /  Piešťany, Slovakia / Břeclav, Czech Republic
2011   Canada   Sweden   Russia   Finland  /  Břeclav, Czech Republic / Piešťany, Slovakia
2012   Canada   Finland   Sweden   Czech Republic  /  Piešťany, Slovakia / Břeclav, Czech Republic
2013   Canada   United States   Czech Republic   Russia  /  Piešťany, Slovakia / Břeclav, Czech Republic
2014   Canada   Czech Republic   United States   Sweden  /  Břeclav, Czech Republic / Piešťany, Slovakia
2015   Canada   Sweden   Russia   Finland  /  Břeclav, Czech Republic / Bratislava, Slovakia
2016   Czech Republic   United States   Russia   Sweden  /  Břeclav, Czech Republic / Bratislava, Slovakia
2017   Canada   Czech Republic   Sweden   Russia  /  Břeclav, Czech Republic / Bratislava, Slovakia
2018   Canada   Sweden   Russia   United States   Edmonton / Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
2019   Russia   Canada   Sweden   Finland  /  Břeclav, Czech Republic / Piešťany, Slovakia
2020   Edmonton / Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
2021  /  Czech Republic / Slovakia
2022   Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Medal leadersEdit

Country Gold Silver Bronze Medals
  Canada 22 3 1 26
  Russia /   Soviet Union 4 4 9 17
  United States 1 9 3 13
  Czech Republic 1 8 4 13
  Sweden 1 3 7 11
  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