International Ice Hockey Federation

Cosmopolitan World Juniors

Cosmopolitan World Juniors

Toronto, Montreal get ready for lifetime event

Published 05.09.2014 12:16 GMT-4 | Author Chris Jurewicz
Cosmopolitan World Juniors
Calgary (pictured) and Edmonton in 2012 were a success story – the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal could become even bigger. Photo: Andy Devlin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Canada’s two biggest cities prepare for the biggest IIHF World Junior Championship ever to take place in less than four months in Toronto and Montreal.

Canadians who don’t live in Toronto often refer to the city, sarcastically, as the centre of the universe.

But starting on Dec. 26 and going through Jan. 5, 2015, Toronto will, in fact, be the centre of the universe. That will be true, at least, when it comes to hockey.

For the first time ever, Toronto will play host to the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. Toronto is partnering with the city of Montreal to put on the largest World Junior Championship in history.

Darryl Boynton, general manager of the Toronto portion of the tournament, knows that Canada has a chance to make this tournament already bigger and better than it is. Remember, it was less than three years ago that Canadian cities Calgary and Edmonton partnered for the best-attended World Juniors ever. More than 440,000 people attended games in 2012. That record is likely to be shattered at the 2015 event.

“We know this will be the biggest World Junior Championship to date,” says Boynton. “By hosting all of our games in NHL venues in Canada’s two largest cities, we have an opportunity to expose hundreds of thousands of fans to this event. Both cities are cosmopolitan and this will contribute so much to the event with the large groups of fans of all nations already living in Toronto and Montreal.”

Yes, location is everything in real estate and you can’t draw up a better picture than this. Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, with a capacity of more than 20,000 people, is located on Bay Street in the heart of the city’s downtown core. The Bell Centre, with a capacity of 21,273, also sits in a great spot, right in the core of glorious Montreal.

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It’s hard to imagine but Toronto has never hosted the World Junior Championship and Montreal has been the event’s home just once – in 1978 (Canada included one Wayne Gretzky in that tournament).

Hockey fans in those cities are certainly starving to see the world’s best under-20 hockey players. Boynton has noticed an increased appetite for fans of the event.

“Now that the season will be starting shortly, hockey fans across Ontario and Quebec are talking more about the World Juniors,” he says. “September 17 marks 100 days until puck drop and that is a date we are all working towards as we know hockey fans will be excited with the start of the season. This event is so special to Canadians that we know it will become a focus from coast-to-coast.”

Boynton says the tickets are sold for Toronto but limited ticket packages will be released on Sept. 17.

Hockey Canada commits a lot of resources to the World Junior Championship every year but this time feels different. Not only is the tournament heading to the country’s largest two cities, but 2014 is also Hockey Canada’s 100th anniversary. Events to honour the centenary are happening throughout 2014 with extra emphasis on the World Junior Championship.

The Hockey Canada Century Tour was launched in Ottawa on Canada Day (July 1) and has made its way to various communities in the country. The Century Tour’s giant, 20,000 square-foot display, will anchor the Fan Festival sites in Toronto and Montreal during the championship.

Fans throughout Ontario and Quebec will also have the chance to see live hockey as pre-competition games will be held at small communities in the two provinces. This is a tradition that Hockey Canada continues to uphold to ensure the event reaches as many Canadians as possible.

Hockey Canada held its under-20 summer development camp in Quebec communities Montreal, Brossard and Sherbrooke in early August and that has helped garner interest in the event. Marie-Christine Boucher, general manager of the Montreal portion of the tournament, says close to 60 per cent of all tickets are sold for her city.

Montreal will play host to Group A for the first half of the event – the group includes Canada, Finland, Germany, Slovakia and the United States – and the medal round will be held in Toronto.

“The World Junior Championship is more than a tournament, it’s an experience,” says Boucher.

“Our main objective is to have all stakeholders – fans, media, teams, families, volunteers, et cetera – enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime celebration. We will be hosting a series of events that will make us the talk of the town this holiday season. Apart from the games, we will be hosting an incredible Fan Fest, a New Year’s Eve celebration, as well as various minor hockey development programs throughout the province.”


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