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Alberta to host World Junior Championship

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), announced on Thursday that the Province of Alberta will host the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, in Calgary and Edmonton.

The 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship will take place from late December 2011 to early January 2012 (exact dates to be determined) in Alberta at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary and Rexall Place in Edmonton.

The schedule will consist of 31 games, created and approved by both the IIHF and the 10 competing nations. The game schedule will not be determined or announced until early 2011.

The Alberta Bid was led by a team from the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Sport Tourism Authority, Edmonton Events International, Edmonton Oil Kings, Calgary Hitmen, Northlands and Hockey Alberta.

Information on public ticket availability for the 2012 IIHF World Championship, including ticket prices, will be finalized at a later date. When tickets plans are finalized, it is anticipated that season and partial ticket holders of the Alberta-based WHL teams will have front-of-the line access to ticket packages at the official ticket campaign launch date.

The Alberta bid was chosen from two potential groups who made final presentations in Toronto on June 9-10 to the 2010 and 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship site selection committee, comprised of Bob Nicholson (president and CEO, Hockey Canada), Allan Morris (chair of the board, Hockey Canada), David Branch (president, Canadian Hockey League), Scott Smith (COO, Hockey Canada) and resource person Scott Farley (director of marketing services and events, Hockey Canada). The other finalist was a bid from Toronto. Saskatoon and Regina, SK had also bid for the championship, but withdrew after those cities were awarded the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Key elements of the Alberta bid

The Alberta bid group has a very strong business plan that includes a projected championship attendance record of more than 475,000 tickets sold and an estimated economic impact to the province of over $45 million. The plan also guarantees affordability for families, with 42 per cent of the championship tickets to be priced between $12 and $40 each, and a legacy plan that will have a long-lasting impact on hockey in Alberta at the conclusion of the event. The Alberta bid group connects all levels of hockey in its plan, including minor hockey, Hockey Alberta, the CHL and the NHL.

The bid includes a strong partnership with the five Alberta-based WHL franchises (Calgary Hitmen, Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers and Red Deer Rebels).

Profits from the event will be divided as follows. Hockey Canada will receive 50 per cent of net profits, the Canadian Hockey League will receive 35 per cent and the remaining 15 per cent of net profit will be shared between the host committee, Hockey Alberta and the other 12 member branches of Hockey Canada. The host committee profit share will benefit the Hockey Alberta Development Leadership Strategy, a component of which is to provide national hockey development leadership opportunities to all Hockey Canada branches.

“This is an exciting day for hockey fans in Alberta and throughout Canada,” said Hockey Canada president and CEO Bob Nicholson. “The bid group from Alberta put forward a great plan, and the site selection committee was particularly impressed with the bid’s focus on making tickets affordable for all hockey fans. We had two outstanding bids to consider and both groups would have been great hosts of the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship. Today, after completing the selection process, we feel that Alberta will present an event that will make all Canadians proud.”

”A joint Calgary-Edmonton bid is a natural choice when it comes to the World Junior Championship,” said CHL president David Branch. “Both markets are home to model junior franchises and some of the best junior hockey fans in the country.”

“We are thrilled to have partnered with Edmonton and won the bid to host this prestigious event,” said Jim Peplinski, Co-chair of the Alberta bid. “The World Junior Hockey Championship is truly a Canadian tradition and a tremendous event that we anticipate will bring significant benefit to the Province of Alberta, the tourism industry, and the hockey community. “

“Calgary and Edmonton have outstanding reputations for hosting international sport events, and we expect the 2012 World Junior Championship to enjoy tremendous success,” said Lyle Best, Co-chair of the Alberta bid. “This is a premier international event, and will be a great opportunity for all of Alberta to see the best young hockey players in the world compete for their countries.”

Canada will host the IIHF World Junior Championship twice before the 2012 event takes place in Calgary and Edmonton: the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship will be hosted by Ottawa from December 26, 2008 to January 5, 2009 and the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship will be held in Saskatoon and Regina, SK from late December 2009 to early January 2010. Canada has already played host to the IIHF World Junior Championship seven times. Past Canadian host cities include Vancouver/Kamloops/Kelowna, BC (2006), Halifax/Sydney, NS (2003), Winnipeg, MB (1999), Red Deer, AB (1995), Saskatoon, SK (1991), Hamilton, ON (1986) and Montreal, QC (1978). Canada has won a medal at ten consecutive IIHF World Junior Championships, including four consecutive gold medals (2005-2008).

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