GLENDALE – Hoping to further develop Arizona as a hockey market, the Coyotes would like to stage the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Valley.
Coyotes prospect Max Domi stole the show at the 2015 World Junior Championship in Toronto. Photo by Getty Images.
To that end, Majority owner Andrew Barroway, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc and General Manager Don Maloney met with USA Hockey leaders last month at the NHL All-Star Game to express their significant interest in hosting the prestigious annual tournament, and to let them know they plan to be part of the bid process.
"Are we a long shot? Yes," LeBlanc said. "But I do I think there's an opportunity. We think this is a natural market for a tournament such as this - that gives you a lot of travelers...It's not a bad thing to come to Arizona for a week to watch hockey."
Other NHL teams likely to bid are Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. The next two World Junior Championships already are scheduled for Finland (2016) and Canada (2017).
Meanwhile, the Coyotes also are in talks with nearby Arizona State University about using Gila River Arena as the home rink for a few of the Sun Devils more meaningful games as early as next season. Details, at this point, are sketchy.
"We will be partnering with ASU in some manner," LeBlanc said. "That is no question. We all agree on that."
The discussions also involve a joint application to host an NCAA Frozen Four tournament. Coyotes leaders plan to join ASU officials at this year’s Frozen Four in Boston in April to see how the event is staged.