Hockey Canada and Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG), along with the Czech Ice Hockey Association and Slovak Ice Hockey Federation, recently announced that the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament has been renamed the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
The tournament runs from Aug. 6th to 11th, 2018 and games will be played both at Rogers Place in Edmonton and Servus Arena in Red Deer.
“Bringing such a prestigious tournament to Canada is made all the more special as it is in the memory of Ivan Hlinka. Ivan and his family have done a tremendous job of putting time, money and effort into making our sport better, not only just in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, but worldwide,” said Wayne Gretzky. “We’re going to have people come from all over the world to be part of this prestigious tournament in Edmonton and Red Deer. I’m honoured to share the name with a true trailblazer in hockey while continuing Ivan’s legacy of growing the sport.”
The tournament will feature 18 games over six days, with Group B games taking place the Servus Arena.
“This is an important event for players as they progress through Canada’s Program of Excellence, and we are thankful to the Czech Ice Hockey Association and Slovak Ice Hockey Federation for their partnership in bringing this best-on-best, high-calibre event to Canada,” said Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer at Hockey Canada. “The rebranding of the event to honour two national hockey heroes reinforces how special this truly is, and we look forward to building on this event’s legacy for years to come.”
The Hlinka Gretzky Cup features some of the best under 18 hockey players from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. Alumni of the tournament includes Sidney Crosby, Patrik Laine, Steven Stamkos and Red Deer Rebels alumni and Edmonton Oiler Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Canada has won 21 gold medals int he last 27 years of the tournament, with the Czech Republic winning last year’s tournament.
“It’s an incredible honour and opportunity for Red Deer to be a partner host city for the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup,” Red Deer Mayor Mayor Tara Veer said. “We are proud to welcome national and international hockey athletes, coaches, scouts, officials and spectators to our community. This tournament reminds us that supporting athletes and sport results in both community and country building, and that our partners are to be credited for the hockey history we’re building not only for Red Deer and Edmonton, but for our fellow Albertans and Canadians.”
Red Deer Rebels season ticket holders will have exclusive access to tournament tickets at reddeerebels.com.
“The Rebels are extremely excited to partner in bringing another world class event to our fans in Central Alberta,” Rebels Owner/President Brent Sutter said. “In the lead-up to the 2019 Canada Winter Games, the Hlinka Gretzky Cup provides another opportunity to put Red Deer on the international stage. The brand new Servus Arena provides the ideal player and fan experience as we bring this event to Canada for the first time.”