The Hlinka Gretzky Cup, a prestigious international tournament for under-18 hockey players, will take place again in the Czech Republic and Slovakia after two years. Last year, when it was to be hosted by the Canadian cities of Edmonton and Red Deer, it had to be cancelled due to the pandemic and related measures.
The Canadian U18 national team, which cancelled its summer selection camp due to the uncertain pandemic situation, will not appear at this year´s event. Among the eight participants, it will be replaced by Germany.
The Hlinka Gretzky Cup 2021 will take place from 2 to 7 August at FOSFA arena in Břeclav and Easton arena in Piešťany. The U18 national teams of the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Switzerland will play in the Břeclav group, and participants from Germany, Slovakia, Sweden and the USA will take part in the group in Piešťany. In the group stage, the teams will play three games from Monday, 2 August to Wednesday, 4 August against each other team within the group. The semi-finals and placement games are scheduled for Friday, 6 August, followed by the final and bronze-medal game on Saturday, 7 August 2021. The tournament is preceeded by pre-tournament games on Saturday, July 31, 2021 – in Břeclav between the Czech Republic and USA and in Piešťany between Slovakia and Russia.
The Hlinka Gretzky Cup follows on from the World or Pacific Cup, which has been held each summer since 1991. It has been held in the Czech Republic and Slovakia since 1997, and since 2004 it has been named after legendary player and coach Ivan Hlinka. In 2018, Wayne Gretzky´s name was added to the title of the tournament, with Canada alternating with the Czech Republic and Slovakia as host until 2022. The most frequent winner is Canada with 22 titles, followed by Russia with four, while the Czech Republic, Sweden and the USA have won once each. The national team of the Czech Republic, which won the tournament in 2016, has also taken second place eight times and third place four times. Russia enters this year´s tournament as defending champion, having won the most recent edition of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, which took place in 2019 in Břeclav and Piešťany.
2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup Schedule
Saturday, 31 July – pre-tournament games:
18:30 Czech Republic – USA (Břeclav)
18:30 Slovakia – Russia (Piešťany)
Monday, 2 August:
15:30 Russia – Finland (group A, Břeclav)
15:30 Germany – Sweden (group B, Piešťany)
19:00 Czech Republic – Switzerland (group A, Břeclav)
19:00 Slovakia – USA (group B, Piešťany)
Tuesday, 3 August:
15:30 Russia – Switzerland (group A, Břeclav)
15:30 Sweden – USA (group B, Piešťany)
19:00 Czech Republic – Finland (group A, Břeclav)
19:00 Slovakia – Germany (group B, Piešťany)
Wednesday, 4 August:
15:30 Finland – Switzerland (group A, Břeclav)
15:30 USA – Germany (group B, Piešťany)
19:00 Czech Republic – Russia (group A, Břeclav)
19:00 Slovakia – Sweden (group B, Piešťany)
Friday, 6 August:
15:30 5th or 7th place game (Břeclav)
15:30 5th or 7th place game (Piešťany)
19:00 semi-final (Břeclav)
19:00 semi-final (Piešťany)
Saturday, 7 August:
17:00 final or 3rd place game (Břeclav)
17:00 final or 3rd place game (Piešťany)