U-17 Championships Coming to Windsor

Spitfires Owners, Hockey Canada representatives and Tecumseh and Windsor Mayors hold Team Canada jersey for the U-17 Championships hosted in Windsor

The Christmas season is around the corner, and that means it’s time for junior hockey! While most people watch the World Junior Championships every year, one tournament that is overlooked is the Under-17 World Championships. This year, they are being hosted by the town of Windsor, Ontario and will have games at the Spitfires home arena the WFCU Center as well as Tecumseh Arena and Lasalle’s Vollmer Complex. The Windsor region has successfully hosted a number of hockey events, including the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, OHL All-Star Game and CHL Subway Super Series. They also have many junior hockey clubs, including the Spitfires, the Lasalle Vipers (Jr. B) (once the Tecumseh Chiefs/Bulldogs), the Windsor Lancers (CIS), and various Junior C clubs. Tecumseh was in fact a city that was considered for an AHL team which ultimately ended up being the Lake Erie Monsters.

The U-17 championships have taken place since 1992 and consists of ten teams; five from Canada (Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic, West and Pacific), USA, Germany, Russia, Sweden, and Czech Republic. Ontario has won eight championships, followed by USA with three, West with two, Quebec with two and Russia with one. Ontario has won eight out of ten championship games.

The teams are divided into two divisions, Group A consisting of Ontario, Germany, Sweden, Pacific and West, while Group B consists of USA, Russia, Atlantic, Quebec and Czech Republic.

Since the first World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (then known as the Quebec Esso Cup) in 1986, more than 1,100 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including nine of the last 11 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).

The 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will bring together the top players in the world born in 1995 or later. The regional 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, and ultimately the National Hockey League.

Detroit Red Wings draft picks that have played in the tournament include:

Anders Eriksson (1993), Keith Primeau (1990), Mike Sillinger (1989), Brendan Smith (2007), Cory Emmerton (2006), Landon Ferraro (2009), Valtteri Filppula (2002), Gleason Fournier (2009), Slava Kozlov (1990), Sergei Fedorov (1989), Teemu Pulkkinen (2010), Kyle Quincey (2003), Randy Cameron (2007), Brooks Macek (2010), Derek Meech (2002), and Logan Pyett (2006).

To see what players your favourite NHL team drafted from this tournament, check out Hockey Canada’s website for a complete player list.

Be sure to stay tuned at The Checking Line for exclusive U17 coverage from TCL’s Kyle Busch and Brian Raiger, who will be at the games live, and follow them on Twitter for up to the minute news!

Kyle Busch