With the World U-17 Hockey Challenge getting started at the end of October, not only will Canada’s best players at that age be in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, but so will athletes from the United States and Europe.
Director of events and properties of Hockey Canada Ryan Robins said the popularity of the World Junior Hockey Championship has only helped the U-17 tournament, and the calibre of players taking part isn’t too far off from what you’d typically see at that event.
“I’ve always said in our office the World Under 17 is almost the little brother of the World Juniors. Obviously there’s a lot of media and resources with TSN profiling the World Junior tournament. When you look at this and the calibre of athletes that come here relative to juniors it’s not that far behind. It’s just at a different scale based on our event model and our ability to execute,” he said.
Since being created by Hockey Canada, the U-17 tournament has brought in the best players from the top hockey nations to compete, and there’s demand from other countries to get their foot in the door for future events in the coming years.
“The World Under 17 is a huge opportunity for those federations as well to compete here. We have core agreements with the primary European hockey playing countries as well as the US. The Czechs are rotating in this year versus the Slovakian team that was here last year. We continue to look at those seeds and opportunities for other international federations we have relationships with in terms of who gets a berth at the event,” he said.
Ticket packages are on sale for games in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.tigerboxofficeplus.ca.