Ice hockey: 2024 Hlinka Gretzky Cup schedule announced. HLINKA GRETZKY CUP

Hockey Canada has announced the 18-game schedule for the 2024 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, which will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton from 5 to 10 August.

The prestigious international tournament showcases some of the best U-18 players in the world. Last year, Canada won their second consecutive gold medal after defeating the Czech Republic 3-2 in overtime in the final. For the second time, Edmonton will host the Hlinka Gretzky Cup from 5-10 August. 

Dean McIntosh, senior vice-president of revenue, fan experience and community impact, said: "We are thrilled to bring the Hlinka Gretzky Cup back to Edmonton for the first time in six years and give fans the opportunity to cheer on the future stars of the NHL. This showcase would not be possible without the support and investment of our event partners. We look forward to an incredible week of hockey this August." 

Canada will be joined by Slovakia, Sweden, and Switzerland in Group A, while Group B will feature the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany and the United States in the 2024 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. 

The tournament is set to start with the opening match between Slovakia and Sweden, followed by the match between last year's runners-up and third-placed teams, the United States and the Czech Republic. The group stage will conclude with Canada taking on Sweden to give way to the next round.

The Canadian team celebrating last year's title. HLINKA GRETZKY CUP
The Canadian team celebrating last year's title. HLINKA GRETZKY CUP

From its inaugural year in 1991 until 2007, the tournament was known as the Nations Cup and U-18 Junior World Cup. It was later renamed the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament to honour the memory of the renowned Czech player Ivan Hlinka, who tragically died in a car accident in 2004. Finally, in 2018, the tournament will be renamed the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in honour of 63-year-old Ontario-born Wayne Gretzky, who is unanimously considered as the greatest player of all time. 

The Canadian's National Hockey League (NHL) records, which remain unbroken 25 years after his retirement, include 894 goals, 1,963 assists and 2,857 regular-season points, the most in any category in the NHL history.

He also won four Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers, ten Art Trophys as the league's leading scorer and nine Hart Trophy MVP statuettes. His record of 894 goals is now threatened by Russian Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, who scored his 846th goal on Friday.

There have been 32 editions of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, from 1991 to 2023, with the tournament suspended in 2020 due to the coronavirus. Canada have been the dominant force in the tournament, winning 24 editions. Russia has won five (one as the Soviet Union), while Sweden, the Czech Republic and the United States have each won one.