Canadian forward Dylan Cozens chips a puck past Nick Malik in the Czech Republic net on Saturday in a 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup pre-tournament game. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

2020 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup likely to be cancelled this week

Tournament was to be played in Edmonton and Red Deer from Aug. 3-8

Hockey fans in Central Alberta won’t get a chance to see some of the top 2021 NHL Draft eligible players this summer.

Multiple reports suggest that the 2020 Hlinka Gretzky Cup will be cancelled this week by Hockey Canada. The international showcase for players under the age of 18 was originally scheduled for Edmonton and Red Deer from Aug., 3-8. The tournament was last played in Red Deer and Edmonton in 2018, with Canada winning gold over Sweden at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Team USA was set to play in Red Deer, with an exhibition game in Penhold on Aug. 1 against the Czech Republic. Slovakia, Sweden and Russia were all supposed to play Red Deer.

Edmonton Sun columnist Terry Jones first reported the likely cancellation Sunday and TSN’s Bob McKenzie said on Insider Trading, that the event would be cancelled in the next number of days. “There are just too many logistical hurdles to overcome,” he said.

In a statement on April 9, Hockey Canada told the Red Deer Advocate that, “the 2019-20 season has been cancelled which means all Hockey Canada Events were cancelled until further notice,” the statement read.

“Hockey Canada is monitoring COVID-19 in Canada, and taking direction from the Provincial and Territorial Health authorities, to assess the hosting of all future events in Canada.”

The 2018 tournament in Red Deer and Edmonton featured 12 players who were first-round picks in the following summer’s NHL Draft. That list included Kirby Dach (3rd), Bowen Byram (4th), Dylan Cozens (7th), Philip Broberg (8th), Vasilli Podkolzin (10th), Victor Soderstrom (11th), Peyton Krebs (17th), Ville Heinola (20th), Samuel Poulin (21st), Tobias Bjornfot (22nd), Jakob Pelletier (26th) and Ryan Suzuki (28th).

That 2018 tournament also had likely 2020 first overall selection Alexis Lafreniere, as well as Dylan Holloway, Braden Schneider, Justin Barron, Lucas Raymond, Anton Lundell, Yaroslav Askarov and Rodion Amirov, all of whom will be picked early in the draft this June.

The 2019 version of the tournament was played in the Czech Republic.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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