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A Benning on the blue-line

The latest in a long line of defenceman from a famous hockey family, Michael Benning has no shortage of resources as he works towards a future in the game

Jason La Rose
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December 08, 2019

It was almost pre-ordained that Michael Benning was going to be a defenceman, and a good one.

After all, it seems pretty much every branch of the Benning family tree includes a talented rearguard.

Michael has a brother, Matt, who is into his fourth season with the Edmonton Oilers, and a sister, Abby, who is a fifth-year senior with the University of Alberta, with whom she won a U SPORTS national title in 2017.

Both are defencemen.

His father, Brian, played 568 NHL games with St. Louis, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Edmonton and Florida from 1985-95, uncle Jim – currently the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks – spent 610 games across nine NHL seasons with Toronto and Vancouver, and uncle Mark was a standout at Harvard University who played a couple seasons of pro hockey in Germany.

All three were defencemen.

So would he really want to be anything different?

“When I was younger, I wanted to be a forward,” Michael says. “I kept telling my dad that, but he wouldn’t give up.”

Sticking with the family business has worked out pretty well for Michael, a 2020 NHL draft prospect and University of Denver commit who is wearing the Maple Leaf this week with Canada West at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge.

He comes into the tournament with a little bit of hype. After posting 40 points in 27 games with the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Michael was highlighted by NHL Central Scouting as a player to watch and featured by The Hockey News in a pre-tournament article.

Just don’t expect a few more sets of eyes and a few more words on a page to change the way he plays.

“There are scouts everywhere these days and I’m not a big social media guy,” Michael says of the attention. “I just try to be the best I can be. I’m playing with good players, so I want to use that to my advantage.”

Advice like that has been – and still is – a staple of his upbringing. With Michael in Sherwood Park, Matt and Abby playing in Edmonton and Brian at home in St. Albert, family dinners happen as often as schedules allow, giving Michael plenty of opportunities for brain-picking.

“They’ve been through every situation,” he says of his family. “They guide me, they tell me what’s going to come up, they help me prepare for it. They’re good teachers on the ice and off the ice, so it’s nice to have.”

Michael also gives a lot of credit to his late grandfather Elmer, a legendary scout who spent 47 years with the Montreal Canadiens and convinced the Habs to select Carey Price in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

“He was my one of my greatest influences,” Michael says of Elmer, who passed away in December 2018. “He was always there with positive feedback. Things I don’t see on the ice he saw from the stands, so he was always a great help with the little things. He was so positive and such a people person.”

But for all the advice they give and all the experience they have, one accomplishment has eluded the Bennings – an international gold medal. Brian finished fourth in his lone trip to the IIHF World Championship in 1993, the closest a family member has come to the podium.

Michael wants to change that, and give himself a few bragging rights at the same time.

“I’m the youngest and I’m a little bugger, so when I get something they don’t have I like to rub it in their face and say ‘Look at this,’” Michael says with a laugh. “It’ll be nice [if we can get it done].”

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Kevin Doig
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Test NR Code
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December 20, 2023
QUISPAMSIS, New Brunswick – Canada’s National Para Hockey Team earned silver at the 2023 Para Hockey Cup, coming up short against the United States 3-0 in the gold medal game on Saturday night in Quispamsis.

Declan Farmer had a goal and an assist, finishing with eight goals and 16 points to lead the tournament in both categories. Jen Lee made 13 saves and finished the tournament with three shutouts in three games played, tying the record with zero goals against.

The Americans finished the tournament undefeated, setting a tournament record for least goals against, conceding just one goal over five games.

Adam Kingsmill (Smithers, BC) turned in a stellar performance for Canada, making 10 saves as the teams finished with 13 shots apiece.

“Our team turned the page, becoming a bit more of the team we want to be. We did a great job all week of playing our style. We got away from it a bit early on, but as the night went on, we got more and more into our game,” Adam Dixon (Midland, ON) said. “We had a great time here in New Brunswick, being able to play in front of our Canadian fans.”

Canada finished the tournament with a record of 3-2, only dropping games to its cross-border rival.

Tyler McGregor (Forest, ON) and Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, ON) finished the tournament with 10 points each, tied for third in tournament standings.

“We lived up to the type of identity we are trying to build. We gave the Americans two early looks to the wrong players and they made us pay for it,” Canada’s head coach Russ Herrington (Unionville, ON) said. “We showed a ton of resilience and ultimately, we made it very difficult for our opponent tonight. It was a great hockey game between two excellent teams, and I think that most people in the building tonight would agree that we put on a show for them.”

Czechia defeats China to win bronze for second-straight year

Earlier in the day, Czechia captured its second consecutive bronze medal with its first win of the tournament, a 4-1 victory over China. Martin Žižlavský led the way for the Czechs with a goal and two assists.

For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Para Hockey Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along through social media on FacebookX and Instagram, and by using #ParaHockeyCup.
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Team Canada West wins gold medal at 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge

Team Canada East gets silver medal; United States wins bronze

NR.097.23
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December 18, 2023

TRURO, Nova Scotia – For the first time since 2017, Team Canada West has won the gold medal at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge, claiming its sixth gold with a 7-2 win over Team Canada East on Sunday at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.

Jack Silverberg (Sherwood Park, AB/Okotoks, AJHL) opened the scoring 1:10 into the game, setting the table for a seven-goal outburst from Canada West, the most goals scored in the gold medal game since the United States scored seven in 2008.

Ronan Buckberger (Saskatoon, SK/Nipawin, SJHL) and Matthew Van Blaricom (Southey, SK/Humboldt, SJHL) each scored twice, while Erick Roest (Lethbridge, AB/Sherwood Park, AJHL) turned aside 30 shots for the win.

“This win today truly shows the character of this team,” said Canada West head coach Scott Barney (Oshawa, ON/Humboldt, SJHL). “We had a tough start to this tournament, but we had some deep heart-to-heart conversations with the players and staff and we got everyone pulling on the same rope. Guys bought in to the right way to play and this is a great feeling.”

Canada West snuck into the playoff round with only a single win in the preliminary round, before stunning the undefeated United States in overtime in Saturday’s semifinals.

Jack Silverberg (Sherwood Park, AB/Okotoks, AJHL), Nathan Brown (Winnipeg, MB/Niverville, MJHL) and Layne Loomer (Lethbridge, AB/Blackfalds, AJHL) rounded out the scoring for Canada West.           

“This is an amazing feeling,” said Van Blaricom. “It is hard to believe really with how we started this tournament, but it’s truly crazy how far we came as a team to get to this point. When you look around that [dressing] room, we knew we had a tough road to get here, but all we needed was a chance and we made it count.”

Trevor Hoskin (Bellville, ON/Cobourg, OJHL) and Vincent Gauthier (St-Zotique, QC/Valleyfield, LHJAAAQ) scored for Canada East, which collected its eighth silver medal.

Full gold medal game stats are available HERE on the Hockey Canada website.

Earlier Sunday, the United States earned its fourth bronze medal with an 8-5 win over Sweden. Trevor Connelly scored four goals, including a hat trick in the first period, to power the U.S. to victory. Connelly because just the third player to score four goals in a game at the tournament, joining Kyle Turris (2006) and Ty Daneault (2022).

For more information on the 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow along via social media on InstagramFacebook or X.

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Canada East’s Simon Mullen at the 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge.

Truro born, Truro raised, Truro proud

From U7 hockey to the Truro Bearcats to Team Canada East, Simon Mullen is representing his hometown at the 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge

Jonathan Yue
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December 12, 2023

He’ll wear the Maple Leaf for the first time this week, but Simon Mullen is no stranger to the World Junior A Hockey Challenge.

“When I was in my second year of [U13], I volunteered with my brother Owen and his [U15] team as part of the ice crew for the tournament in 2017,” Mullen recalls. “It was a huge experience for me, especially at that young age. I would look up and see these junior guys and think they’re so much older and see how good they are, and now here I am in that position.”

Mullen is the lone local product to crack the Team Canada East lineup for the 2023 edition of the tournament, and just the second Bearcat ever – joining Stephen Horyl, who had a goal and four points in four games to help East to silver in 2008.

But unlike Horyl, who came to the Maritime Hockey League (MHL) team by way of River Ryan, Nova Scotia, Mullen is Truro through and through – a born and raised product of the community, on and off the ice.



From learning to skate at the local Deuville’s Rink to his first years of U7 hockey with the Truro and Area Minor Hockey Association, the 18-year-old has spent all but one year of his career at home – he played the 2020-21 season with the Pictou County Majors of the Nova Scotia U18 Major Hockey League.

“Truro is a special place,” the defenceman says. “I’ve played every single year of hockey here except one, so to have a chance to play at an international level, this is special.”

Never one known for his offensive contributions from the blue line, Mullen has instead focused on work ethic and playing the right way in his own zone. But the offence has started to come this season – his 20 points (1-19—20) in 23 games are as many as he had in 82 games combined in his first two seasons with the Bearcats.

He also played his 100th MHL game a few weeks ago, becoming the youngest defenceman in Bearcats history to reach the century mark.

His improvement is most evident to the ones who have seen his career evolve.

“He has a quiet confidence in him that allows him to be proud of what he’s accomplishing,” says Ainsley Mullen, Simon’s mother. “The fact that he’s chosen to stay home is an added feather in the cap and shows that he’s proud to be from here and represent the Bearcats. This full-circle opportunity to represent Team Canada in Truro is a pat on his back for that commitment to play at such a high level while staying in Truro.”

Despite getting that taste of international hockey six years ago, when he had a front-row seat to Team Canada West claiming its most recent World Junior A Challenge gold medal at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre, Mullen wasn’t sure where hockey would take him.

It wasn’t until his rookie season with the Bearcats in 2021-22 that everything truly began to fall into place.

“In my 16-year-old year, I didn’t have many goals or expectations, but I ended up playing a lot of games around really good coaches and leaders and they led the way for me,” Mullen recalls of helping Truro reach the MHL final. “Now as I’m older, I want to bring those habits and work ethic into my game now and work with the younger guys and in the community.”

Talking to Mullen, there’s that one word that keeps coming up – community. He knows he wouldn’t be where he is without the people around him, and he has never hesitated to give back to a town that has long been behind him.

He volunteers his time alongside his Bearcats teammates with local minor hockey programs during the season, and pays it forward in the summer when he’s not working at the local golf course.

But there’s no better way to say thank you to Truro than by giving his all during the World Junior A Hockey Challenge, and hopefully adding a gold medal – which would be the first ever for Team Canada East.

“There’s no words to explain the moment I step on the ice with Canada here,” Mullen says. “Seeing all the kids with the signs and looking down at the logo on the jersey, it’s just something you dream of. I’m going to do my best out there and hopefully open some eyes.”

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Canada East and Canada West rosters named for 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge

44 players named to Canadian entries for return of international event to Truro

NR.089.23
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December 01, 2023

CALGARY, Alberta – Team Canada East and Team Canada West have announced their final rosters ahead of the 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge, and 44 of the top Junior A players in Canada will wear the Maple Leaf in Truro, Nova Scotia, Dec. 10-17 .

The players named to Canada East were selected from the five eastern leagues in the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) - the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL), Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL), Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL), Ligue de hockey junior AAA du Québec (LHJAAAQ) and Maritime Hockey League (MHL). Canada West selected its players from CJHL’s four western leagues - the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL), Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) and Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL).

Canada East’s 22-player roster was selected by head coach Billy McGuigan (Summerside, PE/Summerside, MHL) , alongside director of operations Chris Vanstone (Mississauga, ON/Ontario Junior Hockey League) . Assistant coaches Peter Goulet (Kingston, ON/Powassan, NOJHL) , Derek Smith (Belleville, ON/Trenton, OJHL) and Josh Hardiman (Montréal, QC/Powassan, NOJHL) also provided input.

“We feel the team we have assembled gives us an excellent opportunity to be competitive every game,” said Canada East head coach Billy McGuigan, “There is a tremendous amount of talent across this country and narrowing it down to two teams of twenty-two players is no easy task. Our staff and this group of players is eager to play for a gold medal on the world stage in Atlantic Canada.”

Canada West’s 22-player roster was selected by head coach Scott Barney (Oshawa, ON/Humboldt, SJHL) and director of operations Nigel Dube (Lampman, SK/Lloydminster, AJHL) , alongside assistant coaches Alex Mandolidis (Calgary, AB/Winnipeg, MJHL), Kelvin Cech (Edmonton, AB/Niverville, MJHL), and video coach Bryan Arneson (Sherwood Park, AB/Canmore, AJHL).

“Our staff has done a great job of identifying the top players in Western Canada,” said Canada West head coach Scott Barney, “We are excited to get to Nova Scotia and compete against the world. This is an amazing opportunity for these young men and something we as a staff want to reiterate every day. It is not every day you get to wear the maple leaf so take advantage of it, enjoy it, and play the game that got you here.”

In addition to the 44 players, the support staff that will work with Canada East and Canada West at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge have been announced.

  • Athletic therapist Leah Toffelmire (Treton, ON/Trenton, OJHL)
  • Athletic therapist / Equipment manager Samantha Delsing (Cochrane, AB/Drumheller, AJHL)
  • Physiotherapist Justin Giesbrecht (Niverville, MB/Niverville, MJHL)
  • Physiotherapist / Equipment manager Caitlin McCuaig (Frankford, ON/Wellington, OJHL
  • Equipment managers Carmelo Pugliese (Ottawa, ON/Ottawa, CCJHL) and Jason Savill (Leduc, AB/Flin Flon, SJHL)

Canada West will kick off the 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge against Sweden on Dec. 10 at 3:30 p.m. AT, followed by Canada East facing off against Slovakia at 7:30 p.m. AT. The top four teams will advance to the playoff round, with the medal games taking place at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. AT on Dec. 17.

TSN and RDS, the official broadcast partners of Hockey Canada, will broadcast the gold medal game. All preliminary-round games, both semifinals and the bronze medal game will be livestreamed at HockeyCanada.ca .

The 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge represents a partnership between Hockey Canada, the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), Hockey Nova Scotia, NHL Central Scouting and the local organizing committee. The five-team format includes Team Canada East, Team Canada West, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States.

Full-event ticket packages for the 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge are now available for $192 and can be purchased at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets . The package includes one ticket to all 14 games, including both medal games.

For more information on Hockey Canada and the 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca , or follow along via social media on Facebook , X and Instagram .

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Memories of Truro

Before the World Junior A Challenge returns to Nova Scotia, members of gold medal-winning Canada West take a look back at their 2017 triumph

Jonathan Yue
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November 20, 2023

From Zack Rose’s dominant performances between the pipes to Dylan Holloway’s international impact as a 16-year-old and Jacob Bernard-Docker’s steady confidence on the blue line, there are plenty of memorable moments from the last time the World Junior A Hockey Challenge came to Truro, Nova Scotia, in 2017.

The trio played key roles in leading Canada West to the gold medal, and the experience on the East Coast has stayed with them as they’ve moved on in their hockey journeys.

Rose – who earned MVP honours in 2017 – is in his fifth year of NCAA eligibility with Augustana University, having fashioned a 20-10-4 record in the college games; Holloway went 14th overall to the Edmonton Oilers in the 2020 NHL Draft; and Bernard-Docker was the 26th pick by the Ottawa Senators in 2018.

But what ended up as a golden moment for Canada West didn’t start very well at all; losses to Czechia and the United States left the westerners 0-2 in preliminary-round play and needing to find their game with the playoff round looming.

“We had a rocky start, but we figured things out after the round robin,” Bernard-Docker says. “Having that necessary step of losing those first two games, the team came together as a tight knit group and had fun, really enjoyed the home crowd and turned it around.”




The winless prelims set up an all-Canadian matchup in the quarterfinals against Canada East. West got off to a strong start, with Holloway finding captain Carter Turnbull in the slot to open the scoring six minutes into the game before Bernard-Docker joined the offence 67 seconds into the second period when his his centre-ice dump took a bounce off the end boards and past Canada East goaltender Jett Alexander.

Canada East wouldn’t back down, taking the lead in the third period when Nick Campoli and Jack McBain (a 2022 Olympian) gave it a 3-2 advantage, but Ross Armour tied the game with 6:31 left in regulation before scoring the overtime winner 42 seconds into the extra period to second West on to the semifinals.

The semifinal proved that Canada West was getting better as the games got more important, as it avenged its prelim loss by defeating the Czechs 5-1 . The game was a goaltending battle early, with Rose and Milan Kloucek combining to stop 36 of 37 shots through 40 minutes.

Zdenek Sendek tied things midway through the third period, but Angus Crookshank restored the West advantage 41 seconds after that, and Holloway, Brett Stapley and Brendan Budy helped the Canadians pull away late.

The semifinal success set up a gold medal game showdown against the United States, which had claimed four of the previous five tournament titles.

“The rivalry between U.S and Canada, nothing compares to that rivalry, and that’s something you dream of being in as a kid,” Rose says. “To be a part of that and dominate against them, it speaks to the talent we had on that roster and the leadership of the coaching staff. To come out on top, we played one game at a time and we didn’t look back once we had the opportunity in front of us.”



Brendan Budy got the festivities started with a shorthanded marker midway through the first period, and Crookshank and Corey Andonovski pushed the Canadian advantage to 3-0 by the 12:15 mark of the second. The Americans got one back before the intermission, but Armour and Holloway capped the scoring and finish off a 5-1 victory .

Rose saved his best for the playoff round; he stopped 79 of 84 (a .940 save percentage) in wins over East, the Czechs and Americans, capped by a spectacular 35-save effort in the gold medal game, where West was outshot 36-19.

“The experience was electric throughout the time in Truro, and especially for the final game against the U.S,” Holloway says. “It was my first time in the Maritimes, the crowd was packed, everyone was cheering for us. To play the way I did, it was an honour to play for Canada and put me on the radar with all the eyes that come to the tournament.”

Bernard-Docker adds, “At that point, I just wanted to improve and get better after my first year with Okotoks [in the AJHL] and prepare myself the best I could for college. That tournament put me on the map and helped me gain confidence, realizing I could play with the best players around.”

Rose is forever grateful for the opportunity to represent his country. Offering his advice for those playing in the tournament, he hopes players take time to soak in the whole experience.

“For most people, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Rose says. “Take in every moment because it’s so special to play for Canada. Beyond that, I was a player who didn’t have a [college] commitment going into that tournament, but playing a few good games turned that around and I got offered a scholarship to go to Bowling Green and I gained the confidence and the lessons from the coaching staff to play at that level.”

The World Junior A Hockey Challenge continues to be a tournament that sets a foundation for a lucky few Junior A players across the country. Not only do players gain experience, but they have memories to cherish for a lifetime.

“Thinking of all the history with that logo on your chest, nothing can beat it,” Rose says. “Being able to represent millions of Canadians on the world stage, there is no better hockey country than Canada, and to be able to be one of the lucky people to wear that jersey, there is no better feeling. It gives me chills just thinking back to it.”

The 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge gets underway Dec. 10 at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre. Looking to be part of the festivities in Truro? Tickets are now on sale at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets .

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Coaching Staffs Named for 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge

Billy McGuigan returns as head coach of Team Canada East; Scott Barney takes over as head coach of Team Canada West

NR.71.23
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October 18, 2023

CALGARY, AB – Hockey Canada has announced that eight Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) coaches have been selected to lead Team Canada East and Team Canada West at the 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Truro, Nova Scotia this December.

Billy McGuigan (Summerside, PE/Summerside, MHL) returns to Team Canada East as head coach for the second-straight year after winning a silver medal in 2022. He will be joined by assistant coaches Peter Goulet (Kingston, ON/Powassan, NOJHL) , Derek Smith (Belleville, ON/Trenton, OJHL) and Josh Hardiman (Montréal, QC/Powassan, NOJHL) . Hardiman will be making his international coaching debuts, while Goulet and Smith served as assistant coaches with Team Canada East in 2018 and 2022 respectively.

For Team Canada West, Scott Barney (Oshawa, ON/Humboldt, SJHL) returns to the bench to take the reins as a head coach after serving as an assistant in 2019. He will be joined by assistant coaches Alex Mandolidis (Calgary, AB/Winnipeg, MJHL) , Kelvin Cech (Edmonton, AB/Niverville, MJHL) and Bryan Arneson (Sherwood Park, AB/Canmore, AJHL) who will all make their international coaching debuts in Truro.

“The coaches selected to lead Team Canada East and Team Canada West are an excellent representation of the level of talent within the coaching ranks of Junior A hockey in Canada,” said Andy Harkness, president of the CJHL. “All eight of these individuals bring a wealth of coaching and playing experience both internationally and in Canada. It is an honour for them to be named to these positions, and we look forward to them guiding our Canadian teams through a fantastic event in Nova Scotia.”

“We are excited about the quality of coaches that will lead two teams of highly-skilled players from across the country as they compete for a gold medal at the 2023 World Junior A Challenge in Truro,” said Scott Salmond (Creston, BC) , senior vice-president of hockey operations with Hockey Canada. “We look forward to showcasing the talent from across the CJHL, and we know fans in Truro and across Nova Scotia will be treated to an exciting week of hockey.”

It was also announced that Chris Vanstone (Mississauga, ON) will return as director of operations for Team Canada East after previously serving in the same role in 2018 and 2022, while Nigel Dube (Lampman, SK/Lloydminster, AJHL) has been named director of operations for Team Canada West.

Of the 15 gold medal games at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge, 12 have featured at least one Canadian team. Team Canada East will look to earn its first gold medal, having won silver seven times (2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2016, 2019, 2022) and bronze once (2008), while Team Canada West has won gold five times (2006, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017), silver three times (2008, 2009, 2012) and bronze twice (2013, 2018).

Full-event ticket packages for the 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge are now available for $192 and can be purchased at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets . Packages include one ticket to all 14 games, including the medal games, while the next 150 packages purchased include an exclusive World Junior A Hockey Challenge snapback hat.

The 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge represents a partnership between Hockey Canada, the CJHL, NHL Central Scouting and Hockey Nova Scotia. The international showcase features two Canadian teams along with Slovakia, Sweden and the United States.

For more information on Hockey Canada and the 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca , or follow along via social media on Facebook , X and Instagram .

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Schedule announced for 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge

Truro, Nova Scotia to host international showcase for the second time

NR.69.23
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October 16, 2023

TRURO, NS –The World Junior A Hockey Challenge is set to make its return to Nova Scotia for the first time since 2017, as the City of Truro and Municipality of Colchester will host two Canadian teams and three international entries at the 3,100-seat Rath Eastlink Community Centre, Dec. 10-17.

The 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge represents a partnership between Hockey Canada, the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), Hockey Nova Scotia, NHL Central Scouting and the local organizing committee. The five-team format includes Team Canada East, Team Canada West, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States.

“The unveiling of the schedule is an important step as we continue our preparations for this event,” said Matt Moore, chair of the local organizing committee. “Having experienced this tournament first-hand in 2017, fans in Truro and across Nova Scotia can expect to be treated to highly skilled, fast-paced hockey that includes future stars of the game competing for a gold medal on the international stage.”

The tournament schedule kicks off with Team Canada West taking on Sweden at 3:30 p.m. AT and Team Canada East facing off against Slovakia on opening night. The top four teams will advance to the medal round, with the medal games taking place at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. AT, respectively, on Dec. 17.

TSN and RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, will broadcast the medal games. Preliminary-round games and semifinals will be available by livestream at HockeyCanada.ca .

“The Rath Eastlink Community Centre played host to an amazing event in 2017, capped off with the excitement of a Canadian gold medal,” said Breanne Ferris, manager of events and properties with Hockey Canada. “We are grateful for their dedication and support of the organizing committee to bring this event back to Nova Scotia and are looking forward to another memorable event on the East Coast.”

Fans looking to secure their seats can CLICK HERE to purchase an early-bird full-event ticket package for $192. The package includes one ticket to all 14 tournament games, including both medal games. The first 100 packages sold include an exclusive tournament toque and scarf.

For more information on Hockey Canada and the 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca , or follow along via social media on Facebook , X and Instagram .

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What is the World Junior A Hockey Challenge?

Learn more about the annual Junior A showcase before players from four countries descend on Truro, Nova Scotia

Jonathan Yue
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October 12, 2023

The World Junior A Hockey Challenge returns to Truro, Nova Scotia, for the first time since 2017 this fall. Not only does the event bring international hockey back to town, but it will also showcase the next crop of hockey stars and standouts.

This year’s tournament will feature Canada East, Canada West, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States, beginning Dec. 10 at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.

Founded in 2006 to give more exposure to players from across the Canadian Junior Hockey League, there have been no shortage of memorable moments and historic performances over the years.

Check out the full list of notable World Junior A Challenge alumni

The last time a Canadian team struck gold at the tournament came back in 2017 in Truro, when NHL first-round picks Dylan Holloway (Edmonton) and Jacob Bernard-Docker (Ottawa) helped West to a 5-1 win over the U.S. in the final .

Turning back the clock to the first WJAC in Yorkton and Humboldt, Saskatchewan, in the first-ever game, Kyle Turris scored four times to lead Canada West to a win over Russia en route to gold and MVP honours. That stood as the only four-goal effort until last year, when Ty Daneault lit the lamp four times in a 10-0 West win over Latvia.

In Langley, B.C., in 2011, Canada West became the first team to lose both of its preliminary-round games (under the old format) and still win gold, capped by a thrilling 4-2 win over Canada East in the most recent all-Canadian final .

That game included nine players who have appeared in an NHL game – four with West (Alex Kerfoot, Jujhar Khaira, Colton Parayko, Troy Stecher) and five with East (Drake Caggiula, Justin Danforth, Ben Hutton, Devin Shore, MacKenzie Weegar).

Four years later, a Canada West roster that included four first-round NHL draft picks — Tyson Jost (10th to Colorado in 2016), Dante Fabbro (17th, Nashville, 2016), Dennis Cholowski (20th, Detroit, 2016) and Cale Makar (4th, Colorado, 2017) — won gold in Cobourg and Whitby, Ontario.

That tournament is perhaps best remembered for the wild East vs. West semifinal; tied 2-2 entering the third period, Jost tied a tournament-record with four points (1-3—3) and the teams combined for a record nine goals, with West pulling away for an 8-5 win .

Makar, of course, is now perhaps the best-known WJAC alumni – an all-star in 2015, he returned to captain West in 2016, again making the all-star team, before embarking on a pro career that has already included a Calder Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup championship in Colorado.

And in 2019, a young goaltender stole the show, earning Most Valuable Player honours and backstopping Canada East to within an overtime goal of its first gold medal. A year later, Devon Levi was starring on the biggest stage in junior hockey , turning in one of the best netminding performances in IIHF World Junior Championship history inside the Edmonton bubble.

But it’s not just Canadians who have left their mark. The list of international alumni is just as impressive, including Boston Bruins superstar David Pastrnak (Czech Republic, 2012), Calgary Flames standout Elias Lindholm (Sweden, 2011) and a trio of Americans — New York Islanders defenceman Scott Mayfield (2010), Pittsburgh Penguins forward Vince Hinostroza (2012) and Arizona Coyotes point-getter Nick Schmaltz (2013) — who were tournament MVPs.

As was Winnipeg Jets sniper Nikolaj Ehlers, who took home the award in 2014 after posting nine points (6-3—9) in four games and helping Denmark reach the gold medal game in Kindersley, Saskatchewan.

So where do these players come from? The World Junior A Hockey Challenge gathers some of the top 18-and-under prospects from around the world. This year, the five teams will feature players born in 2005 and 2006, with a maximum of five 2004-born players allowed on each team.

Canada East and Canada West showcase talent from coast to coast, selected from the nine leagues that comprise the Canadian Junior Hockey League. Canada West selects players from the AJHL, SJHL, MJHL and SIJHL, while Canada East pulls its players from the NOJHL, OJHL, CCHL, LHJAAAQ and MHL.

So … will you be part of the festivities in Truro? Tickets are now on sale at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets , including early-bird packages, and there’s something for everyone!

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Hockey Canada confirms hosts for seven events

Hockey Canada confirms hosts for seven events

National and international tournaments will be hosted across five provinces in the 2023-24 season

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July 27, 2023

CALGARY, AB – Hockey Canada has confirmed the dates and host communities for seven events taking place during the 2023-24 season, including the return of the National Women’s Under-18 Championship.

“Today is an exciting day for Hockey Canada as we announce seven events that play a critical role in the development of men’s, women’s and para hockey athletes, coaches and staff,” said Pat McLaughlin, chief operating officer of Hockey Canada. “We hope that hosting these tournaments will help introduce new fans to the game, create lifelong memories for Canadians and have a positive impact in each community long after the medals have been handed out.”

The 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will be played Nov. 2-11 in Charlottetown and Summerside, PE, marking the first time in the tournament’s 37-year history that it will be hosted in the province.

Featuring some of the best young women’s hockey players in Canada, the 2023 National Women’s Under-18 Championship will run Nov. 5-11 in Dawson Creek, BC, bringing the event back to the Peace Region for the first time since 2012.

Canada’s National Para Hockey Team will compete for gold with three other countries at the 2023 Para Hockey Cup, which will be held Dec. 3-9 in Quispamsis, NB, marking the fourth Hockey Canada event that Quispamsis has hosted.

Top Canadian and international players will be showcased at the 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge from Dec. 10-17 in Truro, NS, as the tournament returns to Atlantic Canada for the fourth time and to Truro for the second time.

In the spring, Canada’s Women’s U18 National Club Championship will be decided at the Esso Cup in Vernon, BC from April 21-27, while the Men’s U18 National Club Championship will be played April 22-28 in Membertou, NS.

The best Junior A teams in Canada will take to the ice at the 2024 Centennial Cup in Oakville, ON, with the Oakville Blades hosting the national championship from May 9-19.

“We are thrilled to share the list of communities that will host Hockey Canada events during the 2023-24 season,” said Dean McIntosh, vice-president of strategic partnerships and community impact. “The support we have received from host committees has been outstanding and we are confident that participants, volunteers, partners and fans will have fantastic experiences at each tournament.”

Ticket information for all seven events can be found here. Tournament schedules will be announced at a later date. 

For more information on Hockey Canada, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along through social media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Canada East gets silver at 2022 World Junior A Challenge

United States wins gold, Sweden takes bronze

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December 19, 2022

CORNWALL, Ont. – Canada East has finished with the silver medal at the 2022 World Junior A Challenge, falling 5-2 to the United States in the gold medal game on Sunday night at the Cornwall Civic Complex. 

The United States took a 2-0 lead into the second frame when Matheson Mason (Newmarket, Ont./Wellington, OJHL) and Matthew Cato (Whitby, Ont./Trenton, OJHL) scored to bring Canada East even. The U.S. stormed back with two goals in 47 seconds late in the middle frame and added an empty-net goal to earn its ninth World Junior A Challenge gold medal.

Garrett Schifsky led the way for the United States with two goals – finishing tied for the tournament lead with five - while Sam Rinzel and Quinn Finley had two assists each. Alex Blais (St. Colomban, Que./Saint-Jérôme, LHJAAAQ) assisted on both Canada East goals.

“We were in over our head a little bit; we knew we had to muddy the water, keep pucks to the outside and defend well. When we climbed back into the game and then had a bad line change, they got the momentum back,” said Canada East head coach Billy McGuigan (Summerside, P.E.I./Summerside, MHL). “The experience overall, the friendships and the opportunity to represent your country are the things our guys should take away from this tournament.”

“I cannot express how happy everyone was to play in the gold medal game. We worked hard as a group over the last two weeks to get here. Losing really sucked,” said Canada East captain Trent Crane (Morden, Man./Summerside, MHL). “Wearing the Canadian jersey meant everything to me, I will never forget it and always cherish these two weeks. I will think about this the rest of my life.”

Canada West finishes fourth

In the bronze medal game earlier on Sunday, Canada West fell 3-2 in a shootout to Sweden.

Caelan Fitzpatrick (Moose Jaw, Sask./Brooks, AJHL) opened the scoring just 17 seconds into the game off a pass from Sam Huck (Calgary, Alta./Okotoks, AJHL). Lukas Sagranden and Felix Unger Sörum responded with power-play goals, giving Sweden a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.

Aiden Fink (Calgary, Alta./Brooks, AJHL) scored the game-tying goal on the power play with 15:28 left in regulation - tying the tournament scoring record with 12 points. Noah Erliden made 29 saves and was perfect on five West attempts in the shootout, while Unger Sörum scored the lone shootout goal, giving Sweden its first bronze medal at the tournament.

“You want to be playing for gold, but every one of our guys left it all out there today. It was great to see how our guys played and battled,” said Canada West assistant coach Clayton Jardine (Lacombe, Alta./Camrose, AJHL). “Cornwall did a great job of hosting the tournament. It is always an honor for a player or coach to represent the Maple Leaf.”

“[Head coach Justin] Falk and this coaching staff were unbelievable to us. It was an honour to put this jersey on just for warmups. My linemates [Watkins and Malinoski] were awesome, we moved the puck well and buried on our chances,” said Fink. “Coming into this tournament, we were all rivals in the AJHL, but these guys are like brothers to me now.”

Following the gold medal game, the tournament all-star team was announced:

F: Aiden Fink (Canada West)
F: Cole Knuble (United States)
F: Liam Watkins (Canada West)
D: Eric Pohlkamp (United States)
D: Tom Willander (Sweden)
G: Noah Erliden (Sweden)

Knuble was named the tournament’s most valuable player after recording three goals and nine points in six games.

For more information on the 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow through social media on Facebook and Twitter

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For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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Schedule
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Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Date: Jul 19 to 23
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Edmonton, Alta., Canada
Date: Aug 3 to 10
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San Jose, CA | Salt Lake City, UT | Boise, ID | Halifax, NS | Summerside, PE
Date: Nov 6 to Feb 8