It was kind of spoiled for us yesterday when Bob McKenzie announced it, but it was made official today by Hockey Canada:
For the first time since 1978, when Wayne Gretzky was the tournament's leading scorer and the now defunct Soviet Union won gold, the World Junior Hockey Championship will be returning to Montreal. And it'll be returning twice, as Montreal will share hosting duties with Toronto in both 2015 and 2017.
Shockingly, Toronto has never hosted the World Juniors before, which likely means their appetite will be voracious.
In 2015, the preliminary round games for Canada will be in Montreal, and the medal round in Toronto. For 2017, it's the opposite. Start saving your money now, because these are likely to be the most expensive tickets in either town until one city's NHL team makes the finals. So, the most expensive tickets Torontonians will ever see.
MONTREAL, Que./TORONTO, Ont. - Hockey Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Hockey League, announced Thursday that Montreal, Que., and Toronto, Ont., will co-host the 2015 and 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships.
This will mark the 11th and 12th times Canada has hosted the IIHF World Junior Championship. Past Canadian host cities include Calgary and Edmonton, Alta. (2012); Regina and Saskatoon, Sask. (2010); Ottawa, Ont. (2009); Vancouver, Kamloops and Kelowna, B.C. (2006); Halifax and Sydney, N.S. (2003); Winnipeg, Man. (1999); Red Deer, Alta. (1995); Saskatoon, Sask. (1991); Hamilton, Ont. (1986) and Montreal, Que. (1978).
Both cities will host a preliminary round group at each event, with Toronto hosting the medal round in 2015 and Montreal hosting the medal round in 2017. Canada's National Junior Team will be based in Montreal for the round robin in 2015, and in Toronto in 2017.
The schedule for each IIHF World Junior Championship will consist of 31 games, and requires approval by both the IIHF and the 10 competing nations. The game schedule for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship will not be finalized until early 2014, and will be based on the final rankings from the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be held from Dec. 26, 2013 through Jan. 5, 2014 in Malmö, Sweden.
The organization of the 2015 and 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships will be led by Hockey Canada, in collaboration with Hockey Quebec, the Ontario Hockey Federation, the NHL's Montreal Canadiens and evenko, and Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment. Hockey Canada initiated discussions with Montreal and Toronto a number of months ago, after being identified as strong candidate cities that had also shown great interest in this event and participated in the bid process for a number of past IIHF World Junior Championships.
A legacy plan for the potential profits of these events will provide for grassroots support in both host communities and provinces, along with Hockey Canada's 13 regional branches and the Canadian Hockey League. Additionally, part of the profits will go to the IIHF and help in growing hockey around the world.
The 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship left a legacy of over $21 million in funding to various levels of grassroots hockey at the local, provincial and national levels. The Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance evaluated the economic impact of the 2012 world juniors at over $86 million. Alberta also set a new IIHF World Junior Championship attendance record, with 444,718 fans attending games in Calgary and Edmonton.
Information on public ticket availability for the 2015 and 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships, including ticket prices, will be finalized at a later date. To register for front-of-the-line ticket information, fans must register prior to July 8, 2013 at www.hockeycanada.ca/2015juniors.
"This is an exciting day for hockey fans in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario as well as throughout Canada," said Hockey Canada president and CEO Bob Nicholson. "These two cities have a proud hockey tradition and have shown interest in this event for many years. We look forward to welcoming the hockey world in Montreal and Toronto."
"The IIHF World Junior Championship is one of the great annual traditions in our game, and it is only fitting that two great Canadian hockey cities like Montreal and Toronto have the opportunity to host this prestigious event," said Canadian Hockey League president David Branch. "The CHL is the top junior-age development league in the world and we look forward to showcasing our world class players before the passionate hockey fans in Montreal and Toronto in 2015 and 2017."
"This popular event always unites and captivates hockey fans during the holiday season, and as such will produce important benefits to be used towards supporting and developing hockey programs across the country and, in this case, in Montreal and throughout the province of Quebec," said Real Langlais, president of Hockey Quebec.
"The Ontario Hockey Federation is excited for the opportunity to partner with Hockey Quebec as the host branches in this venture to bring the IIHF World Junior Championship in 2015 and 2017 to cities with such history and passion for the game," said Ontario Hockey Federation president Bill Bowman. "It will be a great opportunity to work with MLSE and Hockey Canada to leave a legacy from this event for the many children playing hockey in the OHF and those that decide to try hockey because of this event in Toronto."
"We are extremely proud to welcome the 2015 and 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships to Montreal and the Bell Centre. This prestigious international tournament will benefit amateur hockey development in Quebec, while contributing to Montreal's economic and cultural growth," said Geoff Molson, owner, president and chief executive officer of the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club, Bell Centre and evenko. "Our organization has long been committed to playing an active role in the community, culture and economies of both our city and the province of Quebec, and hosting such an important international championship is yet another example of that commitment. In 2017, we will be celebrating the 375th anniversary of the City of Montreal, the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, the NHL's centennial, and the 50th anniversary of Expo ‘67. The IIHF World Junior Championship will, in a sense, launch a year of festivities for Montreal and we are honoured to not only be able to play a role in the organization of the tournament but also to be a part of these great celebrations."
"The Maple Leafs and the City of Toronto have been looking to host this event for some time, so today's announcement is very gratifying," said Tim Leiweke, MLSE president and CEO. "This is a great honour and our entire organization is extremely excited about the opportunity to co-host with Montreal in 2015 and 2017."
The Quebec government will play a leading role in the hosting of the tournament, with a $2 million contribution. "It is not only a major investment for Montreal, but it is terrific for Quebecers, young and old. What these young players from around the world will accomplish on the Bell Centre ice will have an impact in arenas and on outdoor rinks across Quebec by encouraging everyone to be active," said Marie Malavoy, Quebec minister of education, leisure and sport.
"The new Government of Ontario is committed to placing our province on the map as a premier destination for sporting events," said Michael Chan, minister of tourism, culture and sport. "We welcome the IIHF World Junior Championship as an opportunity to showcase Toronto's first-rate hospitality, increase tourism, create jobs and celebrate our shared love of the game."
"Montreal is a major hockey city and is the cradle of our national sport. I am therefore pleased and proud to announce that the city will be contributing $1 million to the 2015 and 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships. Montreal hockey fans and those across the province will be thrilled to attend these championships and will definitely show up in large numbers," said Richard Deschamps, member of the executive committee of the City of Montréal, responsible for sports and leisure.
The IIHF World Junior Championship will also be hosted in Canada in 2019 and 2021 as a part of an agreement that Hockey Canada worked out with the International Ice Hockey Federation and was approved at the IIHF's congress in 2009.