Jan. 24, 2019
This November, Medicine Hat will welcome the world’s top U17 hockey players to home ice.
The World U17 Hockey Challenge is an international tournament with teams from 10 countries and showcases the world’s best junior talent. Since 1986, the tournament has been starting point for over 1,600 professional careers in the National Hockey League (NHL), including Mats Sundin, Alexander Ovechkin and Connor McDavid.
In previous years, host regions have seen up to $6 million in economic activity from the World U17 Hockey Challenge.
“There was a great deal of effort from many individuals to bring this event to our community, so it’s a tremendous honour to co-host with our counterparts in Swift Current,” says Ted Clugston, Mayor of Medicine Hat. “We’re looking forward to welcoming the players, their families, and hockey fans to our city, and showcasing our community and its amenities on an international scale.”
Medicine Hat’s 7,000-seat Canalta Centre will host the games. Built in 2015, the 198,000 square foot arena is home to the city’s Western Hockey League team, the Medicine Hat Tigers. The facility features 350 club seats, 22 suites, eight lodge boxes, two community suites and a lounge.
In addition to hockey games, the Canalta Centre hosts live performances. In May 2018, Cirque du Soleil Crystal performed seven shows at the Canalta centre, bringing approximately $2.5 million into the local economy.
The Canalta Centre is located in Box Springs Business Park, one of the city’s main commercial nodes. Located along the Trans-Canada Highway, the area is home to the Hampton Inn & Suites, Skinny’s Smokehouse, Boston Pizza and The Keg Steakhouse & Bar.
And, throughout the city, more hotel rooms and restaurants are coming online. The city is a retail and sports destination for 140,000 people in the surrounding area, including tournament co-host Swift Current, as well as Brooks and Bow Island.
“Alberta has hosted a number of successful Hockey Canada events in recent history, and Hockey Alberta looks forward to ensuring the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge is even more successful,” said Rob Litwinski, chief executive officer of Hockey Alberta. “We are thrilled to welcome the top under-17 hockey players in the world to Alberta for the first time since 2005, and to work with the host committee in Medicine Hat on this prestigious event.”
It will be the first time the U17 World Hockey Challenge will be hosted in Medicine Hat and with new hotels and a state-of-the-art arena, the city will be ready for the international spotlight.