2013 World Junior A Challenge Begins Monday in Yarmouth, N.S.

YARMOUTH, N.S. – Some of the world's top young hockey players have gathered in Yarmouth, N.S., for the 2013 World Junior A Challenge, which runs Nov. 4-10 at the Mariners Centre.

The tournament opens Monday when Canada West takes on Switzerland in the early game (4 p.m. AT), while Canada East meets Russia in the late game (8 p.m. AT). The United States and the Czech Republic play their tournament openers on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

The 2013 World Junior A Challenge will follow the same format as previous years – the six teams will be separated into two groups of three teams. The group winners will receive an automatic bye to the semifinals, while the second-place and third-place teams will crossover for the quarter-finals.

The gold medal game, which will be shown nationally on TSN/RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, is set for Sunday, Nov. 10 (check your local listings). All preliminary round games, quarter-finals, semifinals and the bronze medal game can be seen live via webcast through www.hockeycanada.ca/wjac.

Before the tournament begins, two pre-tournament games will take place Saturday night, both 7 p.m. AT puck drops and both featuring Canadian teams. Canada West will meet the United States in Digby, N.S., in a rematch of last year’s gold medal game, while Canada East will take on the Czech Republic in Barrington, N.S. Tickets are available for both games, for just $15. For ticket information, CLICK HERE.

In addition, the CJHL Prospects Games will be held in conjunction with the World Junior A Challenge. The two-game, total-goal series between Team East and Team West on Nov. 8-9 features the top 40 NHL draft-eligible players from Canada's 10 Junior A leagues and will be a unique opportunity to give CJHL prospects an unprecedented audience of scouts from across North America. Player selection is a joint initiative of the CJHL and NHL Central Scouting.

Single-game tickets are now on sale, beginning at $15, online at www.hockeycanada.ca/tickets or at the box office at the Mariners Centre.

The 2013 World Junior A Challenge marks the second year in a row Yarmouth has played host, the first time in the tournament’s eight-year history it will be held in the same city twice, and in back-to-back years. Yarmouth joins Yorkton and Humboldt, Sask. (2006), Trail and Nelson, B.C. (2007), Camrose, Alta. (2008), Summerside, P.E.I. (2009), Penticton, B.C. (2010) and Langley, B.C. (2011) as host cities.

Since the first World Junior A Challenge in 2006, more than 100 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament, including 21 first-round selections (Beau Bennett, Alexander Burmistrov, Joe Colborne, Nikita Filatov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Dmitri Kulikov, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Elias Lindholm, Hampus Lindholm, John Moore, Vladislav Namestnikov, Riley Nash, Valeri Nichushkin, Dylan Olsen, Jordan Schmaltz, Jaden Schwartz, Brendan Smith, Kyle Turris, Andrei Vasilevski, Alexander Wennberg and Nail Yakupov).

Every gold medal game at the World Junior A Challenge has featured at least one Canadian team. Canada West won gold at the first two tournaments, in 2006 and 2007, before taking the top prize in 2011; it also earned silver in 2008, 2009 and last year. Canada East was silver medallist in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011, and claimed bronze in 2008.