Canada host with the most for World Juniors

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:03 AM ET

VIENNA, Austria -- Canada may or may not win a third straight IIHF World Hockey Championship here today. But our nation won two World Juniors here yesterday.

The IIHF accepted a Hockey Canada proposal to hold the World Juniors every third year for a three-rotation run.

With the coming 2006 World Juniors in Vancouver, Canada will also play host to the event in 2009 and 2012. If successful, Canada is expected to propose hosting the event every second year. The tournament draws far better in Canada than anywhere else in the world.

Canada made the proposal so sweet financially that other nations jumped at the proposal.

"It's something we've been working on for over a year,'' said Hockey Canada boss Bob Nicholson of the decision.

FILL THE BUILDINGS

"We showed we will fill the buildings. Vancouver games are already sold out. The other buildings are 75% sold out,'' he said of the other games in the interior of British Columbia.

Canada will pay for the teams to hold camps and play two pre-tournament games in Canada.

"I think they were excited with the dollars we offered to offset the travel,'' added Nicholson of essentially paying the flights of the teams to come to the tournament.

"The key is that they really want to come to Canada. They love playing the World Juniors in Canada. What happens in our country doesn't happen in any other country in the world,'' he said of the U-20 event, as it is known on this side of the Atlantic."Our fans won this bid. That was very clear.''

Coming off the Heritage Classic, the Edmonton Oilers were one of the bidders for the 2006 World Juniors.

Other cities which bid for the 2006 show were London, Ont., Ottawa, Quebec City, Saskatoon, Calgary and Halifax. No other World Juniors were awarded past Sweden in 2007.

IT'LL BE A FIRST

With the first-ever World Hockey Championships in Canada slated for Quebec City and Halifax in 2008, there's no lack of international hockey coming to Canada.

Nicholson added they'll bid for a women's worlds also, likely in 2009.

Nicholsons said IIHF president Rene Fasel reiterated his desire for the medal round of the 2008 Worlds to be held in Quebec City, not Halifax, and the IIHF added a curve to that as well.

"They informed us they want to go back to the old tournament format of not just the semifinals and gold-and bronze-medal game to be in the same city, but the quarter-finals as well,'' he said.

Here this year the quarter-finals were played on the same day - two in Innsbruck and two here.


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