Skip to main content

Headlines

Halifax, Winnipeg lining up to bid for a world junior hockey championship

NHL.com @NHL

Winnipeg and Halifax want to host a world junior hockey championship again, but the Montreal Canadiens are not interested after their last bid was turned down.

Hockey Canada is taking bids for both the 2010 and 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation world under-20 men's tournaments. Cities can make a pitch for both, or one or the other, and the winners will be chosen in July. Ottawa hosts the 2009 world junior tournament, so Canada will have the coveted event three times in four years.

The U.S. gets it in 2011 and the 2008 tournament opens Dec. 26 in the Czech Republic.

Toronto, Montreal and joint bids from Edmonton-Calgary and Saskatoon-Regina were finalists for 2009.

Edmonton Oilers president Patrick Laforge said earlier this week the club would be interested in trying again with Calgary. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment general manager Bob Hunter also expressed interest in Toronto.

Saskatoon's Joe Bloski, who has headed bids for international tournaments in that city, said he'd be surprised if a pitch didn't come out of Saskatchewan.

Winnipeg (1999) and Halifax (2003) have hosted the tournament before and each have held the women's world hockey championship since their junior tournaments.

Canada was scheduled to get the under-20 tournament every three years, so Hockey Manitoba executive director Peter Woods believes the "bonus" tournament of 2010 is a good opportunity for that province.

"I think our chances are probably a little bit more realistic for 2010 than they are for 2012," Woods said Wednesday from Winnipeg. "2010 is a bit of an add-on and it's closer to the Olympics and that probably eliminates some groups from putting in realistic bids.

"I think maybe the (financial) guarantee could possibly be not quite as burdensome."

Ottawa was able to offer a profit guarantee of $12 million, more than double the $5.2 million Vancouver put up for 2006.

Ticket sales are projected to be a record 450,000 because games will be held in the Ottawa Senators's 19,000-seat Scotiabank Place.

Hockey Canada gets 50 per cent of the profits from the tournament when it's in Canada, the Canadian Hockey League gets 35 per cent with the rest going to the provincial amateur hockey association of the host city or cities.

"I don't think we can entertain something at the $12-million level," Woods said. "We just don't have the facilities or the business base to do that. It's got to be profitable and it's got to be realistic too."

The MTS Centre in Winnipeg seats 15,000. The Metro Centre in Halifax holds 10,000.

Halifax's track record of successful international hockey tournaments should help overcome perceived shortfalls in the size of its arenas, said Scott Ferguson, who is executive vice-president of Trade Centre Limited.

"As soon as we evaluate the criteria, we would expect making a bid," Ferguson said. "We're the only city in the world that has hosted a world juniors, the world women's and the upcoming world championship in May.

"There's no question from a North American perspective and the IIHF's, Halifax has as high a profile or higher than any other city in the country."

The Canadiens wanted the 2009 tournament to tie it into the NHL club's 100th anniversary. The club was short-listed for it, but its desire faded when it lost out to Ottawa.

"We put in a very serious and competitive bid for 2009 for obvious reasons," Canadiens spokesman Donald Beauchamp said Wednesday. "The selection committee opted to go to Ottawa, so our interest stops right there."

The selection committee includes Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson, chairman Allan Morris, chief operating officer Scott Smith and marketing director Scott Farley, as well as Canadian Hockey League president David Branch.

Canada has hosted the tournament seven times with stops in Vancouver (2006), Halifax (2003), Winnipeg (1999), Red Deer, Alta., (1995), Saskatoon (1991), Hamilton (1986) and Montreal (1978).

View More