We’re still about a week away from the 2022 NHL Draft, but the wheels are already in motion for the unofficial beginning of the 2023 NHL Draft season. The first major event on the calendar is the annual Hlinka/Gretzky Cup, which this year will be held at the Peavey Mart Centrium in Red Deer, Alberta.
The international U-18 tournament was not held in 2020 due to Covid-19, and Canada, who has historically dominated the tournament, did not participate in 2021 due to Covid restrictions. But the tournament is back to a full go this season and should serve as a springboard for some of the top prospects available in the 2023 NHL Draft.
The United States traditionally opts not to send players that participate with the NTDP program to the Hlinka Cup, as those players receive sufficient exposure and international experience during the regular season, and this year is no exception. That has the effect of the US sending more of a B+-level roster, which hampers their ability to compete against the world’s best, but does provide an excellent showcase for some talented young players, and gives some international experience for some players that will some day play a role for USA Hockey on the international stage.
Here is the US roster for this year’s tournament.
The US will begin play with an exhibition game against Slovakia on July 29, followed by group play against Germany, Finland, and Czechia beginning July 31.
The semifinal and medal round games will take place August 5th and 6th.