Hockey Canada released its schedule for the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, set for Dec. 14-20 at the West Central Events Centre in Kindersley, Sask.
The United States, the two-time defending gold medallist, will play in Group A with Canada East and Switzerland, while Canada West, Denmark and Russia will comprise Group B.
Canada East will be the first Canadian team to see action, taking on Switzerland in the tournament opener Dec. 14, while Canada West will make its debut that night when it faces Denmark, which is appearing in the tournament for the first time.
The first-place team in each group will receive a bye to the semifinals on Dec. 18, with the second-place and third-place teams crossing over for the quarter-finals on Dec. 17. The losers of the semifinals will meet for the bronze medal Dec. 19, while the winners will face off for gold Saturday, Dec. 20.
“It is exciting to watch the growth of Junior A hockey across Canada, and the World Junior A Challenge has undoubtedly played a leading role in that growth,” said Tom Renney, president and CEO of Hockey Canada in a release. “Canada’s 10 CJHL leagues continue to produce world-class talent, and that talent will be on display this December in Kindersley.”
“The Saskatchewan Hockey Association and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League have such a strong and storied history in junior hockey, and we are thrilled to be heading to Kindersley this December to build upon that history,” said president of the CJHL Kirk Lamb. “The World Junior A Challenge is an incredible opportunity for the top players and prospects in the CJHL – and from around the world – to showcase their talent in front of scouts from all levels of hockey and some of Canada’s best fans.”
Full-tournament ticket packages for the 2014 World Junior A Challenge are now on sale, including tickets to all 13 games in Kindersley for only $225. To purchase tickets, please CLICK HERE.
Single-game ticket information will be announced closer to the start of the 2014 World Junior A Challenge.
Since the first World Junior A Challenge in 2006, more than 200 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including 21 first-round selections (Beau Bennett, Alexander Burmistrov, Joe Colborne, Nikita Filatov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Dmitri Kulikov, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Elias Lindholm, Hampus Lindholm, John Moore, Vladislav Namestnikov, Riley Nash, Valeri Nichushkin, Dylan Olsen, David Pastrnak, Jordan Schmaltz, Nick Schmaltz, Jaden Schwartz, Brendan Smith, Kyle Turris, Alexander Wennberg, Andrei Vasilevski, Jakub Vrana and Nail Yakupov).
Seven of the eight 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, before taking the top prize in 2011; it also earned silver in 2008, 2009 and 2012, and won bronze in 2013. Canada East was silver medallist in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011, and claimed bronze in 2008.