Jackson Shepard among Six WHL players to represent Canada at 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup
Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League will be represented by six players on Hockey Canada’s 22-player roster for the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, scheduled for August 7 to 12 in Breclav, Czech Republic and Bratislava, Slovakia.
Hockey Canada announced its 22-player roster Tuesday afternoon following its five-day National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team selection camp.
Representing the WHL on Hockey Canada’s roster for the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup are forwards Luka Burzan (Moose Jaw Warriors / Surrey, B.C.), Jackson Shepard (Kamloops Blazers / West Vancouver, B.C.), Nolan Foote (Kelowna Rockets / Kelowna, B.C.) and defencemen Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs / Lloydminster, Alta.), Calen Addison (Lethbridge Hurricanes / Brandon, Man.) and Jett Woo (Moose Jaw Warriors / Winnipeg, Man.).
All but two of the 22 players represented their country at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge – an international tournament hosted annually in Canada that features three Canadian teams (Red, White, Black) and five international teams. Canada’s team also includes 15 players who’ve worn the red-and-white in international competition overseas – six having donned the Team Canada jersey at the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship in Poprad and Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia, in April; and 11 having competed for Canada at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.
“We’ve had a great selection camp here in Calgary, with all 44 players showing us what they’re made of,” said Brent Kisio (Lethbridge Hurricanes / Calgary, Alta.), head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team. “As a best-on-best tournament, the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup allows us to showcase the very best Canadian talent in this age group. We are ready to make Canadians proud with how we represent them on and off the ice.”
Kisio and assistant coaches Drew Bannister (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL / Sudbury, Ont.) and Daniel Jacob (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL / St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.), along with Hockey Canada’s new head scout Brad McEwan (Whitewood, Sask.) and regional scout Barclay Branch, joined Bruce Hamilton (Kelowna Rockets / Saskatoon, Sask.) of the management group of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence to select this year’s Hlinka roster from the 44 players who attended the selection camp.
Canada has won gold 20 times in 25 years of summer under-18 competition and will play in Group B this year with Finland, Russia, and Slovakia; Group A consists of the Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
The Canadians will face the Czech Republic in a pre-tournament game on August 5 in Breclav, and official open the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup on August 7 against Russia. The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals on Friday, August 11, with the gold-medal game scheduled for Saturday, August 12.
Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup coming to Canada
In addition to sending its players and team staff to the Ivan Hlinka tournament, members of Hockey Canada’s events department will join representatives from Oilers Entertainment Group, the City of Edmonton, and Tourism Edmonton as the groups prepare to host the 2018 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.
As announced last November, Hockey Canada, the Czech Ice Hockey Association, and the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation have struck a partnership to host the prestigious summer hockey staple on Canadian ice on a bi-annual basis. Edmonton will host the tournament in 2018, 2020, and 2022.
The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup is traditionally held in August, and Hockey Canada expects the regional economic impact of hosting in Edmonton could top $5 million based on the results from hosting similar events of this size and scope.