Pittsburgh and the Penguins are going “all in” in our bid to host the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships – and now you can join us by showing your support to bring this prestigious international event to our City.
Using the hashtag #WJCinPIT, let’s show USA Hockey and the International Ice Hockey Federation that Pittsburgh is the perfect site to host a tournament featuring the best teen-aged hockey prospects in the world.
USA Hockey announced Tuesday that Pittsburgh was one of three finalists to host the event, in addition to St. Louis and Buffalo.
“We know our fans are ready,” said David Morehouse, CEO and President of the Penguins. “The ‘World Junior’ is such a phenomenal international event. It brings together the best players under the age of 20 from all of the top hockey-playing nations in the world. The list of players with World Junior experience reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of current NHL superstars, including our own Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. It can be such a great opportunity for our fans and tremendous international exposure for our City.”
“I have no doubt that Pittsburgh will be a great host for the World Junior,” said Crosby, who played in the 2004 and 2005 tournaments. “Our fans are so passionate about hockey here. They always give our team a ton of support, and I know they will do the same for this event. I believe this tournament will do really well played in Pittsburgh.”
“I have great memories of the people involved in the tournament, the fans, and the people who hosted us,” said Penguins goaltender Marc Andre-Fleury, who played in the 2003 and 2004 tournaments. “That’s why I think Pittsburgh would be a perfect fit for the World Junior. The city and the fans here would create great memories for these guys.”
Since opening in 2010, CONSOL Energy Center has twice hosted the early rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (2012 and 2015) as well as the 2012 NHL Draft, the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four, the 2013 USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game and the 2014 USA Gymnastics Championships. Pittsburgh also successfully hosted the 2011 NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field. But the World Junior Championship bid represents a unique opportunity to showcase an international athletic competition.
Four Pittsburgh area players – John Gibson, J.T. Miller, Vince Trocheck and Riley Barber – helped Team USA to the World Junior gold medal in 2013.
“Pittsburgh has long been home to some of the best hockey players – and fans – in the world,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto. “The World Junior would be a perfect fit and our city stands ready with the Penguins to welcome fellow fans to CONSOL Energy Center.”
Underscoring the strength of international hockey, five different countries have won the IIHF World Junior title in the past five years – Russia in 2011, Sweden in 2012, the USA in 2013, Finland in 2014 and Canada in 2015. The 2016 World Junior Championships will be held in Helsinki, Finland.