Half of the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup was played in Red Deer. For the 20222 edition of the tournament, it will all be played in Red Deer. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Half of the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup was played in Red Deer. For the 20222 edition of the tournament, it will all be played in Red Deer. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Hlinka Gretzky Cup officially set to return to Red Deer

Tournament will be played exclusively in Red Deer from July 31- Aug. 6

After months of speculation, Hockey Canada has finally confirmed that the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup will be played exclusively in Red Deer this summer.

The 2022 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships were held in Red Deer and Edmonton in December, but the event was cancelled shortly after it started due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

The tournament was then rescheduled for August in Edmonton and will be played solely at Rogers Place, from Aug. 9-20.

The Hlinka Gretzky Cup, which was supposed to be slipt between Red Deer and Edmonton, will be played only in Red Deer from July 31- Aug. 6.

“While we were disappointed to have not been able to complete the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship as intended in December, our focus quickly shifted to hosting the event again when it was safe to do so,” said Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer of Hockey Canada in a press release.

“Now, fans will be able to cheer on Team Canada at the World Juniors in Edmonton and at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer.

“Under the most unique of circumstances, this summer will be unforgettable for Canadian hockey fans, and we cannot wait to drop the puck at both events.”

All games at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup will be played at the Peavey Mart Centrium, marking the first time the best-on-best international tournament for Under-18 age group players has been hosted in Canada by one community.

Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 team will play its preliminary-round games in Group A against Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland, while Czechia, Finland, Germany and the United States face each other in Group B.

Fans will be able to buy tournament packages beginning April 22 at HockeyCanada.ca.

“We are thrilled to bring these two marquee hockey events to fans in Canada this summer and provide safe environments for the competing teams to chase gold in Alberta,” said Dean McIntosh, vice-president of events and properties for Hockey Canada in a press release.

“The economic impact of these tournaments will be in the millions of dollars for Edmonton, Red Deer and the Province of Alberta, and we are excited to work with both host communities to establish legacy initiatives that will impact the grassroots game in Alberta for years to come.”

Red Deer last hosted the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August of 2018 at Servus Arena. Group B, consisting of Russia, U.S., Czechia and Finland played in Red Deer, while Canada, Sweden, Slovakia and Switzerland played in Edmonton.