QUISPAMSIS, N.B. -- Many of the top players in the NHL once played in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and this weekend the international tournament is taking place in the Maritimes.

Some of the best young hockey players in the world compete in the tournament, including teams from Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and the United States.

Dennis Williams coaches one of three teams representing Canada in the upcoming tournament and has won this event before as a player himself. Williams says he’s excited to be back, helping the next generation.

“Every NHL team will be here with scouts, a lot of the CHL teams will be here as well because they’re looking for Canadian players for potential trades down the road, but also international players for future import drafts,” explained Williams.

The team’s final practices were held on Friday, and for these players, this will be the biggest competition any have ever been in.

“A lot of people come to this tournament so obviously you want to put your best foot forward. I think the way to do that is come together as a team and make everyone else look good,” said Canadian player, Jamie Drys

Restaurants and hotels throughout the city are already busy, and they’re expected to get even busier feeding these young athletes.

“It works out to one thousand dozen eggs they’re going to consume in the next 11 days,” said restaurant owner George Georgoudis, “They’re going to consume over 7 thousand pounds of protein, .. and about 8 thousand pounds of pasta they’re going to consume.”

“It’s crazy. They eat every three hours, every three or four hours they’ve got to be fed.”

The tournament begins Saturday and games will be played in both Saint John and Quispamsis.

Tickets are still on sale for most of the games, except the match-ups between Canada and Russia in the first round, which have already sold out.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.