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Saskatchewan wants to prove non-NHL markets can handle world junior tournament @NHLdotcom

SASKATOON - The chairman of Saskatchewan's bid to host the 2010 world junior championship feels pressure to demonstrate smaller markets can handle a tournament that just keeps getting bigger and bigger in Canada.

NHL markets Vancouver and Ottawa were the sites of the previous two Canadian stops in 2006 and 2009 respectively. Calgary and Edmonton will jointly host the 2012 tournament.

With the world junior tournament returning to Canada in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021, Saskatoon Blades owner Jack Brodsky wants Regina and Saskatoon to pave the way for non-NHL cities to get the tournament.

"That was one of the things we felt really strongly about," Brodsky said. "Our family is junior hockey operators and I'd love to see a non-NHL city or province be able to host this event and be as successful as we've been."

The Regina-Saskatoon bid was able to make a profit guarantee of $12.5 million, which was the same as Ottawa's, thanks in part to the Saskatchewan government stepping in to guarantee of portion of it.

Projected attendance for the tournament will be about 325,000, which will fall short of the record of 453,282 set in Ottawa because that city had bigger arenas.

Canada's first three games of the tournament were not sold out as some upper-bowl seats were empty. Wednesday's game against the U.S., was sold out at over 15,000, however.

Part of Saskatchewan's bid was to initially increase seating capacity at Saskatoon's Credit Union Place, the larger of the two arenas, to 12,000. It was later decided to up that to 15,000.

"We made a decision after that, as part of the legacy here that we would like to add those seats in the upper levels of the building to complete the hockey bowl," Brodsky explained. "Those were some of the seats unsold. We're not disappointed with where we are. Sure, we'd like to have it all sold out, but for what we bid on, we're sold out."


CAN'T CATCH A BREAK: Regina Pats defenceman Colten Teubert is still looking for his first point of the 2010 world junior tournament because his contributions haven't been recognized by the official scorers.

The Los Angeles Kings prospect was initially credited with an assist on Canada's first goal of a 5-4 shootout win over the U.S. on Wednesday, but the assist was later awarded to teammate Jordan Caron.

"I've had like four points in this tournament and they just don't want to give them to me," Teubert sighed Thursday. "I'm not too worried about it, but it's a little frustrating when you come back and look at the stat sheet and you're like 'oh I didn't get one."'


SHOOTOUT STRATEGY: Canadian head coach Willie Desjardins made Jordan Eberle of the Regina Pats, Nazem Kadri of the London Knights and Brandon Kozun of the Calgary Hitmen his initial choices for a shootout in Wednesday's 5-4 win over the U.S.

He says he made his choices based on a shootout drill during selection camp. The wild card was how they would perform in front of 15,000 screaming fans at Credit Union Place.

"We just watched that day which guys had the strongest moves - not necessarily who scored - but had the strongest moves," he explained. "The only problem is it's really hard to duplicate that many people there. What you do in practice isn't quite the same was what you would see there."


THE TRIPLE: According to the International Ice Hockey Federation, only six players have competed in the world junior hockey championships, the Olympics and the world championship in the same calendar year.

None are Canadians and there won't be any in 2010 as no players on the junior team were named to the Olympic squad earlier this week.

The players who have done the triple are Sweden's Kenny Jonsson (1994), Russia's Darius Kasparaitis, Alexei Kovalev and Alexei Zhitnik (1992), Finland's Saku Koivu (1994) and Russian Evgeni Malkin (2006).

Only Jonsson managed to win a medal in all three events with a silver at the world junior tournament, bronze at the world championship and gold in the Olympics.

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