Tom Ahearn, the Buffalo Sabres
' Director of Arena Services, knows exactly what's facing him in hosting the 2011 World Junior Championship in the middle of the Sabres' season.
"If you think about it, it's 21 games in 10 days," Ahearn told NHL.com. "That's half the Sabres' season."
While that might make some palms sweaty, the staffers tasked with bringing off this international tournament are just rolling up their sleeves and going to work.
The WJC runs Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2011; but for the Sabres, the tournament is the culmination of nearly two years of build-up.
"This is a significant event," Sabres Director of Public Relations Michael Gilbert told NHL.com. "Avid hockey fans in Buffalo know it; the casual hockey fan or person in Buffalo has no idea the size and scope of this event. Other than the Olympics, this is the next prestigious ice hockey tournament in the world. And we have the fortune to be hosting it here in Buffalo."
"This is a significant event. Avid hockey fans in Buffalo know it; the casual hockey fan or person in Buffalo has no idea the size and scope of this event. Other than the Olympics, this is the next prestigious ice hockey tournament in the world. And we have the fortune to be hosting it here in Buffalo." -- Michael Gilbert, Sabres Director of Public Relations
Count Sabres Managing Partner Larry Quinn among those who know exactly how important the World Juniors is. Quinn had watched the 2003 World Juniors in Halifax and was approached by members of USA Hockey to gauge the interest in potentially bringing the event to Buffalo.
On Oct. 27, 2008, it was announced Buffalo would host the 2011 event.
"Buffalo is a wonderful city and we could not be more pleased to be bringing the World Juniors to western New York," Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey, said at the time of the announcement. "The Sabres are a first-class organization and the participants and fans from around the world will have the chance to experience that first hand."
In order to pull that off, Ahearn has enlisted every member of the Sabres' organization and HSBC Center staff, as well as a number of a legion of others.