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Welcome to the home of Hockey Nova Scotia!
Oct. 31, 2014

SARNIA, Ont. – The first puck is ready to drop at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. All eight teams will take to the ice for pre-tournament action Friday night before the tournament begins Sunday.

Nova Scotia will be well represented at the 24-game tournament that will be centered out of the RBC Centre in Sarnia, Ont., but will also feature games at The Shores Recreation Centre in Lambton Shores, Ont. Both communities, along with Petrolia, Ont., and Watford, Ont., will host pre-tournament games tonight.

Five Nova Scotians will be spread across three national rosters at the event. Defenceman Luke Green (Hammonds Plains/Saint John, QMJHL), the first overall pick by the Saint John Sea Dogs in the 2014 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) Draft and forward Michael O'Leary (Halifax/Salisbury School, USHS) will skate together on Team Canada White. They will be joined by forward Mitchell Balmas (Sydney/Charlottetown, QMJHL) who was named to the team last week when after an injury forced the Rimouski Oceanic's Hunter Moreau out of the tournament.

Goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick (Lower Sackville/Sherbrooke, QMJHL) will play between the pipes for Team Canada Red while Reilly Pickard (Halifax, Baie-Comeau, QMJHL) will tend goal for Team Canada Black.

(Pictured in photo, left to right: Luke Green, Evan Fitzpatrick, Reilly Pickard, Michael O'Leary, Mitchell Balmas.)

The eight teams vying for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge gold medal are divided into two groups. Group A will feature Canada Black, Canada White, Finland and Russia, while Canada Red, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States will comprise Group B.


The gold medal game will be held Nov. 8 at 8:30 p.m. AST and will be shown on TSN and RDS, Hockey Canada’s official broadcasters, along with the bronze medal game and both semifinals. All other games at the tournament, including 12 preliminary round games, four quarter-finals and two placement games, will be available live through FASTHockey webcasts at  

The event brings together the top players in the world born in 1998 or later. The under-17 program is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. Many players who compete at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge go on to represent Canada with the National Men’s Under-18 Team, National Junior Team and National Men’s Team.

This year’s tournament will be the first to feature three Canadian national teams – Black, Red and White. From 1986 to 2014, Canada was represented by five regional teams: Atlantic, Ontario, Pacific, Quebec and West.

Since the first under-17 tournament (then known as the Quebec Esso Cup) in 1986, more than 1,300 NHL draft picks have played, including 11 of the last 14 first-overall selections (Ilya Kovalchuk, 2001; Rick Nash, 2002; Marc-André Fleury, 2003; Alexander Ovechkin, 2004; Erik Johnson, 2006; Patrick Kane, 2007; John Tavares, 2009; Taylor Hall, 2010; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011; Nathan MacKinnon, 2013; Aaron Ekblad, 2014).

Hockey Nova Scotia would like to congratulate these five players on their accomplishments and wish them luck at the tournament.

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