Canada to host U18 Hockey Canada tournament on bi-annual basis
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EDMONTON — Though it's named for one of the most influential people in Czech hockey history, the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup tournament is taking up partial residency in Canada.
Hockey Canada announced Monday that it has reached an agreement with the Czech Ice Hockey Association and the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation to host the prestigious under-18 tournament on a bi-annual basis, beginning in 2018. A Czech or Slovak city will host the other tournaments.
Edmonton will host the tournament in 2018, 2020 and 2022.
Owned and produced by the Czech and Slovak governing bodies and not sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation, the Ivan Hlinka tournament made its debut in 1991 as a best-on-best U18 international event.
The tournament is traditionally held in August, meaning it doesn't conflict with the Canadian Hockey League schedule. With its top players at its disposal, Canada has won the event 20 times.
The IIHF's official U18 tournament is held in April, when the top major junior players are unavailable.
The tournament is named for the late Ivan Hlinka, who starred as a high-scoring centre for Czechoslovakia's national team, helping his country win medals in 10 world championships and two Olympic Games.
Later he coached the Czech team to an Olympic gold medal in 1998 and a world championship in 1999, and became the first Czech head coach in NHL history when he took over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the 2000-01 season.