The first major international event of the 2010-2011 season is the World Junior A Challenge that will be taking place in Pentiction, B.C. next season. Well the schedule & Groups have been released as the tournament will have the same format as the tournament has 6 teams divided into 2 groups of 3 as the Americans will look to win this event for the 3rd straight year.
As usual, 2 Canada Teams rep. the East (Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I., & New Foundland) & the West (B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan & Manitoba) will make up the Canadian rep. at this event. For the first time ever, both Canadian Teams didn't make the podium as Canada East was the runner up while Canada West was 4th. Overall, Canada West has won the Gold twice in 2006 & 2007.
Also 2 Silver Medals in 2008 & 2009 make Canada West the only team ever to medal in every year in this tournament's history. Canada East has never won this event as they have won the Silver in 2006 & 2007 while winning a Bronze in 2008.
While Sweden is looking to improve on a surprising last place finish from last year, while Russia brings a team that won the Bronze Medal last year which matched its best performance in 2006. Switzerland who rounds out the field will be making their tournament debut next season.
With the Swiss gradually improving their Junior Programs in recent years which included a 4th Place at the WJC & a 5th Place Finish at the U18's. Tournament Org. are hoping that this could possibly be one of the most exciting years for this event in the tournament's short history since it was created back in 2006.
If it does turn out to be what they hoping for, some are hoping that this event can be expanded to 8 teams and possibly start allowing other places (Especially in the USA to host this event in the Near Future).
It was also benefit the event to see more places that are looking to further develop their Junior Programs to compete in this event, especially if they not in the World Junior Championship and/or the U18 World Championship to get their players more experience. Teams like Denmark, Norway and Austria come to mind as good examples.
This year's event will be taking place in Pentiction, B.C at the South Okanagan Events Center (Home of the BCHL's Pentiction Vees).
The Coaching staff for Team USA won't be revelled till sometime in late summer where the USHL is expected to have a majority of the coaching staff for the team as the Americans have won the Gold the last 2 years. In addition to the Coaching staff, 21 of the 22 players on Team USA at the WJAC came from the USHL, the only exception came from Beau Bennett who played for the Pentiction Vees of the BCHL last year.
Team's USA History at the World Junior A Challenge
2007: Bronze Medal
2008: Gold Medal
2009: Gold Medal
Link to the Tournament Schedule: www.hockeycanada.ca/index.php/ci_id/71747/la_id/1.htm
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