As Bucky Gleason reported Wednesday, the official word has come from USA Hockey that Buffalo is one of the finalists for the 2010-11 World Junior Championships. That would be a huge coup for the area and HSBC Arena. And even though the event might not register much in this country outside of Western New York, you'd probably be talking about the biggest worldwide audience focusing on Buffalo since the 1993 World University Games (remember them?).
Here's some facts the Sabres have provided today:
---Ten countries send their best 20-and-under players. There would be 31 games played over 12 days (Dec. 26, 2010-Jan. 6, 2011) and all the games would be at HSBC and Niagara University's Dwyer Arena. All medal-round games would, of course, be at HSBC. Memo to the Vincentians at Niagara: Get your arena expanded!
---Attendance at both venues is expected to total 300,000 with an economic impact to the area in the $6 million range.
---Here's a list of recent World Junior participants from the Sabres: Maxim Afinogenov (Russia 98-99), Tyler Bouck (Canada 99-00), Chris Butler (USA 06), Tim Connolly (USA 99), Jhonas Enroth (Sweden 07-08), Nathan Gerbe (USA 06-07), Phillip Gogulla (Germany 07), Clarke MacArthur (Canada 05), Adam Mair (Canada 99), Nathan Paetsch (02-03), Dan Paille (Canada 03-04), Derek Roy (Canada 03), Felix Schutz (Germany 07), Andrej Sekera (Slovakia 06), Drew Stafford (USA 04-05), Thomas Vanek (Austria 04), Marek Zagrapan (Czech Republic 05-06).
---When the event was last in the US in 2005, the top names on the ice were Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.
It's Buffalo, Grand Forks, ND and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Site visits are expected next month with a decision before the end of the year. You would think the proximity to Canada would give Buffalo a big edge. We'll see.
taggedWorld Junior Championships