The City of Toronto presented its bid for the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship Tuesday. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment's (MLSE) Executive Vice-President of Venues and Entertainment Bob Hunter and Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Anselmi led the Toronto contingent. They were joined by Toronto Mayor David Miller, who is a 2012 Toronto bid co-chair, Ontario Health Promotions Minister Margarett Best and the President of the Ontario Hockey Federation Joe Drago. Larry Tanenbaum, MLSE chairman and also a bid co-chair, joined the presentation by video.
Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ricoh Coliseum, home of the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies, are the proposed host venues should Toronto be granted the rights to host the tournament. The Leafs and Marlies new practice facility known as Leafs Nation Hockey Headquarters in Etobicoke, presently under construction, would also be used for World Juniors training and practices. Hockey Canada will operate their Ontario Regional Offices from the new practice facility.
A successful bid would mean 31 tournament games played over 11 days and the city hosting tens of thousands of hockey fans, tourists, media and hockey federations.
"We believe it’s time that Toronto hosted the World Junior Tournament," said Hunter. "Hockey is part of our city's culture and we have some of the most passionate hockey fans. We know it will be a huge success in our city. The World Juniors is one of the great hockey tournaments in the world, and has become a holiday tradition in Canada.”
The City of Toronto and Tourism Toronto have committed $1 million and the Province of Ontario has promised $2.5 million in funding for a successful Toronto bid.
MLSE will lead the planning, organizing and execution of the tournament, including providing all resources and labour associated with hosting a successful event. They have made significant guarantees for any financial risk. MLSE has also committed to donate $1 million for a comprehensive legacy that will have a lasting impact on hockey and the city long after the tournament is over.
“The Leafs and Marlies are dedicated to hockey development at all levels. It is critical to the future success of our game, which we cannot take for granted,” said Anselmi. “It’s important that all of the leaders in hockey use this tournament as a platform to rally around the game. We intend to do that through the legacy that the World Juniors will leave behind.”
Toronto’s legacy program includes refurbishing 10 of Toronto's city-owned rinks and an extensive equipment exchange program with the Ontario Hockey Federation.
Anselmi added that bringing the World Juniors to Toronto will create a huge economic and tourist boost for the city with more than 400,000 hockey fans attending the games and engaging many more through event programming and festivals.
The 2006 World Juniors hosted by Vancouver provided that city with an estimated $54 million economic injection.
The 2012 World Juniors Tournament begins on December 26, 2011 and runs through January 5, 2012. Hockey Canada will announce the host city for the 2012 Tournament in the coming months.