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Inaugural WHL U.S. Challenge Cup to begin Friday

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Kent, Wash. –  The Western Hockey League, in partnership with NHL Seattle and Visit Kent, announced today the launch of the inaugural WHL U.S. Challenge Cup, which will run from Friday, February 21 to Sunday, February 23, at the accesso ShoWare Center and Kent Valley Ice Centre in Kent, Wash.

HOW TO WATCH

Free Admission at accesso ShoWare Center & Kent Valley Ice Centre (Kent, Wash.)
Free Livestream – Online via Live Arena ­– CLICK HERE

Players and teams attending the WHL U.S. Challenge Cup will be welcomed to Kent, Wash., at the WHL U.S. Challenge Cup Dinner on Thursday, February 20. Hosted by Ian Furness of 950 KJR, the WHL U.S. Challenge Cup Dinner will feature greetings from WHL Commissioner Ron Robison, Dana Ralph (Mayor of Kent), Brandon Lee (Canadian Consul General to the Pacific Northwest & Alaska), and Bill Boyce (Kent City Council President). The evening will conclude with a keynote address from Tod Leiweke, CEO of NHL Seattle.

The inaugural WHL U.S. Challenge Cup will feature 12 of the top-ranked Bantam teams from the Western United States and British Columbia. The event is free of admission for fans wishing to attend and enjoy the opportunity to watch the next generation of American-born hockey talent. All 12 WHL U.S. Challenge Cup games scheduled at accesso ShoWare Center will be available online for free, streaming courtesy Live Arena. American-born players participating in the inaugural WHL U.S. Challenge Cup will be eligible for the 2020 WHL U.S. Prospects Draft, scheduled for Wednesday, March 25.

The 12 teams competing at the WHL U.S. Challenge Cup will participate in an 18-game round robin, with teams playing three games each. Following round-robin play, teams will be ranked from first through 12th, setting the stage for final placement games on Sunday, February 23. The championship game at the inaugural WHL U.S. Challenge Cup will be held Sunday, February 23 (12:30 p.m. PT) at the accesso ShoWare Center, home of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.

SCHEDULE, SCORING & STATISTICS
Schedule – CLICK HERE
Scoring at prospects.whl.ca/scores
Statistics at prospects.whl.ca/stats
Standings at prospects.whl.ca/standings

COMPETING TEAMS
Dallas Stars Elite ’05 (Dallas, Texas) – ROSTER
Delta Hockey Academy Green (Vancouver, B.C.) – ROSTER
Greater Vancouver Canadians (Vancouver, B.C.) – ROSTER
Los Angeles Junior Kings (Los Angeles, Calif.) – ROSTER
Okanagan Rockets (Kelowna, B.C.) – ROSTER
Phoenix Junior Coyotes (Phoenix, Ariz.) – ROSTER
San Diego Saints (San Diego, Calif.) – ROSTER
San Jose Junior Sharks (San Jose, Calif.) – ROSTER
Seattle Junior 14U Admirals (Seattle, Wash.) – ROSTER
Team Alaska 14U (Anchorage, Alaska) – ROSTER
West Van Warriors (Vancouver, B.C.) – ROSTER
Yale Academy (Vancouver, B.C.) – ROSTER

WHL / USA HOCKEY OFFICIATING DEVELOPMENT COACHING & SEMINAR

In partnership with USA Hockey, the WHL will be participating in an Officiating Development Seminar as part of its commitment to growing the game of hockey in the Pacific Northwest. Local on-ice officials from the Pacific Northwest will be scheduled to officiate tournament games, and will be provided with guidance from Kevin Muench (WHL Senior Director, Officiating) and Tom Kowal (WHL Officiating Development Coach), along with Scott Zelkin and Keith Kaval from the US Hockey Officiating Development Program. The development of on-ice officials is critical to the continued growth of the game of hockey in the region.

ABOUT THE WHL U.S. CHALLENGE CUP

The 2020 WHL U.S. Challenge Cup will present an opportunity to showcase the next generation of American-born stars. Many of the Clubs competing at the 2020 WHL U.S. Challenge Cup have produced WHL and NHL stars, including the likes of Seth Jones (Dallas Stars Elite / Portland Winterhawks), Scott Gomez (Team Alaska / Tri-City Americans), and Kailer Yamamoto (Los Angeles Jr. Kings / Spokane Chiefs). The 12 participating Bantam teams will be the guests of the Seattle Thunderbirds when the Kent-based WHL Club hosts the Portland Winterhawks for a WHL U.S. Division rivalry game Saturday, February 22, at accesso ShoWare Center.

ABOUT THE WHL U.S. PROSPECTS DRAFT

The 2020 WHL U.S. Prospects Draft provides an added opportunity for WHL Scouts to identify and select American-born hockey talent, placing a greater emphasis on the continued development and growth of the game in the Western United States. Players eligible for the 2020 WHL U.S. Prospects Draft will be 2005-born players who reside in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The 2020 WHL U.S. Prospects Draft is scheduled for Wednesday, March 25.

ABOUT THE WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.

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