The World U-17 Hockey Challenge, originally known as the Quebec Esso Cup, is an international ice hockey tournament held annually in Canada. Prior to 2011,[NB 1] the tournament did not operate during years in which the Canada Winter Games were held. As such, the World Under-17 Challenge was held three out of every four years. It is organized by Hockey Canada and is the first major international competition for male hockey players under the age of 17. The tournament is the first step in Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence and is used to identify players moving on to the U18 and National Junior Team.
|Current season, competition or edition:|
2022 World U-17 Hockey Challenge
|Most titles||Canada Ontario (8)|
|Canadian Junior Hockey League|
World Junior A Challenge
|Official website||World U-17 Hockey Challenge|
The inaugural World Under-17 Hockey Challenge took place in Quebec as the 1986 Quebec Esso Cup. At the time, it was considered the unofficial world championship of midget hockey. It was also used as a development tool for the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association to identify players for further development as well as expose them to their first taste of international competition. The tournament was among ten teams, five regional teams from Canada, Finland, Czechoslovakia, the United States, Sweden, and the Soviet Union. Team Quebec, led by future NHL first overall pick Pierre Turgeon captured gold by defeating the Soviets, who featured the likes of Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Mogilny.
Prior to November 2014, the tournament was held from late December through to early January. Originally, Canada would field five teams, selected on a regional basis.
The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge has continued to grow over the years to the point where it is perhaps the largest annual event administered under Hockey Canada's own auspices. Although the tournament is not sanctioned by the IIHF, it attracts U17 teams from the United States, Sweden, and Russia on an annual basis and Czech Republic, Finland, and Slovakia on a semi-annual basis.
The tournament is currently held in November of each year.
Canada enters three teams each year. Prior to November 2014, Canada entered five regional teams
Other participating nations have included:
| Czech Republic
In bold, players selected first overall in the NHL entry draft
- The ice hockey tournament at the 2011 Canada Games was supposed be held in place of a 2011 tournament. This is no longer true. The Canada Games tourney is now for U16 players, which will be played at the 2011 Games in Halifax. The U17 tournament will be played as planned in Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. The female U18s nationals is off this year due to the Canada Games, but not the men.
- Split events were held in 1998