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The Hlinka Gretzky Cup (also known as the U-18 Junior World Cup and formerly known as the the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, Pacific Cup and the Nations Cup) is an annual event held each August for national under-18 ice hockey teams from around the world. Held since 1991, it has been contested under various titles and in various countries, including Japan, Mexico, and Canada. From 1997 through 2017, hosting duties for the event alternated between, and were later split between, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. During this period, the event was known as the Nations Cup, the U-18 Junior World Cup, and Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. From 2018 through 2022, the tournament will alternate between Edmonton, Canada and Czech Republic/Slovakia.

The event is not sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), which holds its own U-18 championship earlier in the year. As that event conflicts with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) playoffs, the Hlinka Gretzky Cup is one of the few opportunities for Canada to compete with their strongest U-18 national team. Canada has subsequently been the most dominant team in the tournament, having won 22 times.

The tournament is a prominent pre-season showcase for National Hockey League (NHL) prospects; 17 players on Canada's winning team from 2017 were selected with first-round picks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.[1]

HistoryEdit

The tournament started in 1991, hosted by Japan for the first three years, as well as the fifth. In its first year, it was known as the Phoenix Cup, after which the Pacific Cup moniker was adopted (with the exception of 1994, when Mexico served as the host country and the tournament was known as La Copa Mexico). In 1996, the tournament was first held in Canada. Beginning in 1997, just four years after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia began alternating as hosts, and the tournament was renamed the Nations Cup. The two countries alternated until 2003, then co-hosted from 2003 through 2017. At this time, it was also renamed the U-18 Junior World Cup, but was subsequently renamed again to the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournement in 2007, three years after the death of Ivan Hlinka—one of the first prominent figures in Czech hockey.[1]

Historically, the tournament has been dominated by Canada; over 27 years, the country has won 22 times and medalled in each year except 2003, 2007, and 2016. As the IIHF's official U18 world championships conflicts with playoffs in domestic competitions such as the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), this tournament is the only competition of the two to which Canada is able to send its best under-18 team.

In January 2018, Hockey Canada announced that the event had been renamed the Hlinka Gretzky Cup (additionally honouring Edmonton Oilers alumnus Wayne Gretzky), and that the 2018 edition would be hosted by Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta, in association with Oilers Entertainment Group and the Czech and Slovak ice hockey federations.[2] The tournament will alternate between Edmonton and Czech Republic/Slovakia annually through 2022.[1][3]

ResultsEdit

Year Gold Silver Bronze Venue
1991 Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the United States United States of America Sapporo / Yokohama
1992 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of Russia Russia Flag of Japan Japan Tokyo
1993 Flag of Russia Russia Flag of the United States United States of America Flag of Canada Canada Yokohama
1994 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the United States United States of America Flag of Russia Russia Mexico City
1995 Flag of Russia Russia Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the United States United States of America Yokohama
1996 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the United States United States of America Flag of Finland Finland Nelson / Castlegar, British Columbia
1997 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Flag of Slovakia Slovakia Jihlava / Žďár nad Sázavou / Znojmo
1998 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Flag of Slovakia Slovakia Bratislava
1999 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the United States United States of America Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Havlíčkův Brod / Třebíč / Znojmo
2000 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the United States United States of America Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Kežmarok
2001 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Flag of Russia Russia Kolín / Mladá Boleslav / Nymburk
2002 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Flag of Russia Russia Břeclav / Piešťany
2003 Flag of the United States United States of America Flag of Russia Russia Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Břeclav / Piešťany
2004 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Flag of Sweden Sweden Břeclav / Hodonín / Piešťany
2005 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Flag of Finland Finland Břeclav / Piešťany
2006 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the United States United States of America Flag of Russia Russia Břeclav / Piešťany
2007 Flag of Sweden Sweden Flag of Finland Finland Flag of Russia Russia Hodonín / Piešťany
2008 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of Russia Russia Flag of Sweden Sweden Hodonín / Piešťany
2009 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of Russia Russia Flag of Sweden Sweden Břeclav / Hodonín / Piešťany
2010 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of the United States United States of America Flag of Sweden Sweden Břeclav / Piešťany
2011 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of Sweden Sweden Flag of Russia Russia Břeclav / Piešťany
2012 Flag of Canada Canada Flag of Finland Finland Flag of Sweden Sweden Břeclav / Piešťany
2013 Flag of Canada.svg Canada Flag of the United States United States Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Břeclav / Piešťany
2014 Flag of Canada.svg Canada Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Flag of the United States United States Břeclav / Piešťany
2015 Flag of Canada.svg Canada Flag of Sweden Sweden Flag of Russia Russia Břeclav / Bratislava
2016 Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Flag of the United States United States of America Flag of Russia Russia Břeclav / Bratislava
2017 Flag of Canada.png Canada Flag of the Czech Republic.png Czech Republic Flag of Sweden.png Sweden Břeclav / Bratislava
2018 Flag of Canada.png Canada Flag of Sweden.png SwedenFlag of Russia Russia Edmonton / Red Deer
2019 Flag of Russia Russia Flag of Canada Canada Flag of Sweden.png Sweden Břeclav and Piešťany

Medal leadersEdit

Country Gold Silver Bronze Medals
Flag of Canada.png Canada 22 3 1 26
Flag of Russia.png Russia / Flag of the Soviet Union.png Soviet Union 4 4 9 17
Flag of the United States.png United States of America 1 9 3 13
Flag of the Czech Republic.png Czech Republic 1 8 4 13
Flag of Sweden.png Sweden 1 3 7 11
Flag of Finland.png Finland 0 2 2 4
Flag of Slovakia.png Slovakia 0 0 2 2
Flag of Japan.gif Japan 0 0 1 1

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Hlinka Gretzky Cup the first step to possible NHL stardom", Edmonton Sun, 2018-08-04. (en-US) 
  2. HLINKA GRETZKY CUP COMING TO ROGERS PLACE AND SERVUS ARENA IN RED DEER.
  3. s.r.o., eSports.cz,. "Hlinka Gretzky Cup introduced in Edmonton", Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup official website. (en-UK) 
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