This week in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta, some of the world’s best U18 players are representing their countries at the annual Hlinka Gretzky Cup. This tournament differs from the IIHF U-18 which sees most of the top players absent due to their CHL seasons still underway.
For the first time in the tournament’s history, Wayne Gretzky's name is associated with the official naming of it. Over the years, it’s been labelled as the Nations Cup, the U-18 Junior World Cup, Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, and now the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Canada has downright dominated the eight-team tournament since its inception back in 1991.
Dozens of future NHL stars made their mark on the international stage with a strong performance at the tournament catching the eyes of scouts across the NHL as their go into their draft-eligible junior seasons.
The 2017 tournament saw 19 players selected in the first-round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft for a total of 77 hearing their names called. The 2017 tournament-winning Canadian team had 20 players go in the draft.
During Canada’s first game of the 2018 tournament on Tuesday night, TSN showed a couple of headshots of some of the most prominent Canadian alumni members that terrorized opponents at the tournament over the years. Click the photo inside the post to go through the players.
A true blast from the past that generates so many questions: Would Fleury ever dare to rock those in a game? Did Rick Nash think the spiky blonde hair was going to make people think he was a badass 17-year-old? Sidney Crosby’s ear-to-ear grin shows you how excited he was to dominate the tournament.
And Max Domi and Mitch Marner? Well, they look just about the same.
Coverage of the tournament picks back up on Friday for Day 4 that features four games: Switzerland and Finland, Sweden and Russia, Slovakia and Czech Republic, and the United States and Canada. You can watch the games live on TSN.