The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge kicks off in Langley and Delta, B.C. on Thursday afternoon.
Five countries are represented in seven teams, with Canada being split into Team Red, Team White and Team Black. The United States, Finland, Sweden and Czechia make up the other countries.
This tournament is a chance to get a sneak peek at some of the talent coming up in the 2024 and 2025 NHL drafts. Players in major junior will get a chance to play against others around the same age instead of facing 20- to 21-year-olds in the WHL, OHL or QMJHL.
Michael Misa on Team Red is one of the key players to watch in this tournament, as discussed by Tony Ferrari and Brock Otten in Thursday's episode of The Hockey News On The 'O' Podcast.
The 15-year-old Misa has 17 points in 13 games in just his rookie OHL season with the Saginaw Spirit. He's eligible for the 2025 NHL draft and was given exceptional status to join the OHL one year early.
Brock Otten said the OHL defence featured in this tournament could be a strong sign of their potential as one of the better defense prospects to come through the OHL. OHL defenders include 6-foot-3, 194-pound Sam Dickinson who has seven points in 11 games for the London Knights and right-shot Henry Mews with seven points in 11 games for the Ottawa 67's.
The WHL also has lots of players to follow, including Canada Red's Tij Iginla, as Lizz Child and Carol Schram said on an earlier episode of The Hockey News On The 'Dub' Podcast.
Iginla, son of Jarome Iginla, has five points in nine games as a forward on the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Jordan Gavin on Canada Black is another forward to watch. The 15-year-old has 14 points in 12 games for the Tri-City Americans and is eligible for the 2025 NHL draft.
Each team plays each other once in the preliminary stage that lasts until Nov. 11. The standings from the round-robin determine the bronze and gold medal matches on Nov. 12 at the Langley Events Centre.
This will be the first World U-17 Hockey Challenge tournament since 2019, when Team Russia won gold. NHL draftees such as Chaz Lucius, Zach Dean and Shane Wright played in 2019, with Lucius leading the way with 10 points in six games.