2020 Hlinka Gretzky Cup officially cancelled

Preparation continues 2021 World Juniors

Another big hockey event is officially off the calendar this summer.

The 2020 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, featuring the top under-18 players from around the world, was cancelled Tuesday.

The tournament was scheduled for Aug. 3 to 8 in Red Deer and Edmonton.

Hockey Canada also announced Tuesday that it is continuing to evaluate the status of the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championships, which are set to take place in Edmonton and Red Deer from Dec. 26, 2020, to Jan. 5, 2021.

“The health and safety of players, staff, officials, fans, family, volunteers and the general public is of the utmost importance to Hockey Canada, and although this was a difficult decision to make, we believe it is in the best interest of everyone involved, given the uncertainty at this time,” said Hockey Canada in a joint statement from CEO Tom Renney and Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer, about the 2020 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

In 2018, Red Deer and Edmonton hosted the first edition of the newly named Hlinka Gretzky Cup, which was formerly known as the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and typically held overseas.

It was anticipated at that time, that the event would inject close to $5 million into the Alberta economy, based on events of a similar size and scope.

In a report to the City of Red Deer on March 16, nearly $200,000 of hotel, dining and various supply expenditures were connected to the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup attendees in Red Deer.

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 (third), Bowen Byram (fourth), Dylan Cozens (seventh), Philip Broberg (eighth), 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 Hlinka Gretzky Cup will return to the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 2021 and be back in Alberta in 2022.