The Junior Hockey League announces the principle of building JHL Challenge Cup rosters.
On December 3, 2023, Tula will host the JHL Challenge Cup – the game featuring the strongest players of the League doing their best to give their Conference a win and get an opportunity to become one of the four participants of the Fonbet KHL All-Star Game.
From 2010 to 2022, 500 players participated in the Challenge Cup, 290 of whom (58%) have experience of playing in the KHL. 109 Challenge Cup participants are 2023/24 KHLers, 23 have already played over 500 KHL games each – including such Russian hockey stars as Nikita Gusev, Viktor Antipin, Konstantin Okulov, Nikita Tryamkin.
The League has reformed the player selection format for the 15th Challenge Cup to make it even more spectacular. Coaches can select up to three representatives of any JHL team. This decision offers coaching staffs of Yury Navarenko (Team West, Mikhailov Academy) and Dmitry Burlutsky (Team East, Mamonty Ugry) more scope for getting the strongest players from their Conferences to play at the Challenge Cup.
The new format will allow fans to see the maximum concentration of the most promising JHLers, future stars of the Kontinental Hockey League playing at the Challenge Cup, and the competition for the top-four for the Fonbet KHL All-Star Game will become even stronger. 2023 Challenge Cup result is unpredictable: Team West leads 8-4, but Team East won the latest two Challenge Cups and will do their best to try to keep the winning streak going.
The League’s decision was explained by KHL Vice President for Junior Hockey Development Alexander Guskov.
About the new format for selecting JHL Challenge Cup players
– We decided to reform the player selection format for the Challenge Cup in the anniversary season. Coaches will select the best players of the League without having to pick representatives of every single team. The only restriction is that no more than three players from the same club can participate in the event. We believe that it will make the game even more entertaining and hard-fought. Only those who have earned the chance will compete for the Challenge Cup. Coaches will need to think about their lineups: they will be able to take either the whole line, or create a combination of best players from different JHL teams. All fans are invited to Tula!
Expectations for the 2023 JHL Challenge Cup
– I look forward to high speed, more goals, an even more spectacular game, since the best and brightest are to meet on the ice. I expect the four players who will qualify for the KHL All-Star Game to be even stronger and make a name for themselves at the adult level, maybe even in the 2023/24 season.
About four best players of the Challenge Cup to appear in the Fonbet KHL All-Star Game
– It is a huge incentive for the guys who give their best at the Challenge Cup. Making it to the KHL All-Star Game is an opportunity to prove yourself at a different level. It is a show, but junior players do want to come into the spotlight there and then. Roman Kantserov, Artyom Zhukov, Ivan Demidov, who participated in the 2022 All-Star Game, are now playing for KHL teams. It shows that they did get noticed and then used the chance that they were given. It is a good thing and we will keep it going.
About development of hockey in Tula
– Just three years ago an arena was built in Tula, and a new team joined the Junior Hockey League. Now there are two JHL teams in this region, and Mikhailov Academy have worked their way from newbies to a League’s much-fancied team. They are one of the leaders of the Gold Division of the Western Conference in the 2023/24 season. It is a great stride forward for Tula hockey. We have selected this location because this region does compel attention of fans of junior teams.
Tula becomes the host city for Junior Hockey League Challenge Cup for the first time. The event will be held on December 3 within the framework of Fonbet All-Star Week. Women’s All-Star Game is scheduled for December 2. KHL Skills competition and All-Star Game will be hosted by new SKA-Arena in Saint Petersburg on December 9 and 10.