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Buffalo, Pittsburgh, St. Louis finalists for 2018 WJC

NHL.com @NHL

Buffalo, Pittsburgh and St. Louis were announced by USA Hockey on Tuesday as the finalists to host the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

A final decision on the host is expected to come by the end of the year after officials from USA Hockey visit each of the three cities. Chicago and Tampa Bay, in the original group of candidates to host the tournament, did not make the cut.

"We look forward to this next step in our selection process," said Mike Bertsch, assistant executive director of marketing, communications and events for USA Hockey. "It was extremely difficult to get down to three. All five of the cities we were considering made a compelling case."

The World Junior Championship has been hosted by the U.S. five times previously: Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1982; Anchorage in 1989; Boston in 1996; Grand Forks, N.D., and Thief River Falls, Minn., in 2005; and Buffalo in 2011.

The 2016 WJC will take place in Helsinki, Finland, while the 2017 WJC is set for Toronto and Montreal.

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