It looks like North Delta will play host to some of the world’s best 16-year-old hockey players come November.
A report by city staff presented at Delta council Monday afternoon (July 26) lists a number of confirmed and tentative city- and community group-led events scheduled from July 30 through to the end of 2022.
The schedule includes Hockey Canada’s World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, set to take place (at least in part) at Sungod Arena Nov. 4-12. The tournament, which features three Canadian teams and five international entries, is meant to showcase “the future stars of the game,” according to the event’s website.
In February 2020, Hockey Canada was considering a joint bid to host the 2021 event in North Delta, Langley and Chilliwack. However, when COVID-19 hit, the pandemic forced the cancellation of that year’s tournament (scheduled to take place Oct. 31 to Nov. 7 in Charlottetown and Summerside, P.E.I.) and seemingly delayed any decision about the 2021 event.
To date, no official announcement has been made by Hockey Canada or any of the host cities. In an email to the Reporter Thursday (July 29), a representative for Hockey Canada said the organization doesn’t have a timeline for an announcement on the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, noting plans for most Hockey Canada events are “still being worked on.”
The 2019 event — held in Medicine Hat, Alta. and Swift Current, Sask. — saw the three Canadian teams and one each representing the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the U.S. play in 22 games played over eight days. Some games were shown on TSN, others streamed on Hockey Canada’s website.
Since the inception in 1986 of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, then known as the Quebec Esso Cup, more than 1,800 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including current stars Patrick Kane, Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Alex Ovechkin.
— with files from Tom Zillich