Hlinka Gretzky Cup

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The Hlinka Gretzky Cup is an annual international under-18 ice hockey tournament administered by Canada, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia's ice hockey federations. 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 in April. As that event conflicts with Canadian Hockey League (CHL) playoffs, the Hlinka Gretzky Cup is one of the few opportunities for Canada to compete with its 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]


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. In 2007, the event was renamed the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in honour of prominent Czech player Ivan Hlinka] (who had died in a vehicle accident in 2004).[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]


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

Medal leaders[edit]

Country Gold Silver Bronze Medals
 Canada 22 2 1 25
 Russia /  Soviet Union 3 4 9 16
 United States 1 9 3 13
 Czech Republic 1 8 4 13
 Sweden 1 3 6 10
 Finland 0 2 2 4
 Slovakia 0 0 2 2
 Japan 0 0 1 1


  1. ^ a b c "Hlinka Gretzky Cup the first step to possible NHL stardom". Edmonton Sun. 2018-08-04. Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  3. ^ s.r.o., eSports.cz,. "Hlinka Gretzky Cup introduced in Edmonton". Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup official website. Retrieved 2018-08-11.

External links[edit]