The Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League will represent Canada at the inaugural World Junior Club Cup (WJCC) from August 30 to September 4, 2011 in Omsk, Russia.
Eight clubs from Canada, the USA, Russia, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Czech Republic, all champions of national junior championships under 21, will take part in the World Cup. This event is sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).
"The Oil Barons are thrilled to be chosen by Hockey Canada out of 135 Canadian Junior "A" teams to compete in this tournament. Fort McMurray and the Oil Barons made history with the Northern Classic less than a year ago, and we hope to go to Omsk and come back with the Cup," said Andrew Boutilier, President of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.
"It's going to be a once in a lifetime experience for the players on and off the ice. Not only will they play against teams that play different styles, but learn a new culture as well," stated Gord Thibodeau, General Manager and Head Coach of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.
"This international club team tournament hosted by the Russian Hockey Federation is a very special and unique honour and responsibility," said Scott Smith, Chief Operating Officer of Hockey Canada. "Hockey Canada would like to thank the CJHL and the Fort McMurray Oil Barons for accepting this challenge - we have no doubt that this fine hockey organization will represent Hockey Canada with pride and passion in Russia this summer."
"The Alberta Junior Hockey League is thrilled that these players will have the opportunity to experience international competition and travel as participants in the first ever World Junior Club Cup," stated Craig T. Cripps, President of the AJHL. "This will be one of the most memorable experiences of their careers and lives."
"The CJHL is proud to support the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and the first ever World Junior Club Cup. We look forward to working with Hockey Canada, the Russian Hockey Federation and the IIHF on this inaugural event," said Kirk Lamb, Chairman of the CJHL. "The Oil Barons are one of the premier Junior 'A' organizations in the country and we have no doubt that they will represent Canada, the CJHL and Canadian Junior 'A' hockey with class."
In 2000, Fort McMurray hosted and won the Royal Bank Cup National Junior "A" Championship. The Oil Barons were AJHL champions in 1997, 2000 and 2006. They have gone to the AJHL Final five of the past eight seasons.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)