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Overwhelming Support for '09 Junior Bid

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

(April 17, 2006) --  As Toronto officials prepare to formally present the city's bid for the 2009 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Calgary tomorrow, a new poll shows 94 per cent support for the initiative from Greater Toronto Area residents.

"This is significant because it shows that we were not only right to make the bid but that the support from dedicated fans of the sport will be there to make the tournament a massive success," said Mayor David Miller. "The joint proposal from the City of Toronto and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) is clearly in the best interests of the city, the region and the game in general."

The findings are part of an Ipsos-Reid poll released this morning indicating that not only is there support for the bid, but there's a general awareness of it in the region and indications that the fans will come to the games in droves.

"The results of this poll validate what we know about Torontonians' passion for hockey; that the world Junior Championship is an event the community is ready to rally behind," said Miller.

The Toronto Bid Committee for the in-person presentation to Hockey Canada will be led by Honourary Chair Darryl Sittler, Jim Watson, Ontario's Minister for Health Promotion, Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, Bob Hunter, Executive Vice President, GM Air Canada Centre & Ricoh Coliseum, and Tom Anselmi, Executive Vice President and COO Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd.

"Toronto's bid is both accessible and compact and includes the City's best arenas (Air Canada Centre & Ricoh Coliseum), hotels, and an experienced organizational team, in the country's largest participant and corporate market", said Deputy Mayor Pantalone. "There are also legacy benefits the city will realize beyond the tournament."

The 2009 World Junior Hockey Championship begins Dec. 26, 2008, runs through Jan. 5, 2009 and also includes pre-championship camps, exhibition games, and community events and programs.  In 2006, the event in Vancouver generated an estimated $41 million in economic impact with more than 4 million viewers for the gold medal game.

Hockey Canada will announce the winning host next month.

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