Prospects for world event hurt

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

Some would say there was an unimpressive crowd at the Top Prospects game Wednesday night at Scotiabank Place and the rumblings now are the turnout -- less than 6,000 --will hurt Ottawa's chances of landing the 2010 world junior championship.

It should be a legitimate concern since it seems like the powers that be are always looking for reasons not to give the WJC to Ottawa, despite a couple of strong previous bids mounted by 67's owner Jeff Hunt.

There were a few things that worked against the success of this year's Top Prospects game here -- some self-inflicted, some beyond the organizers' control.

In the latter category, it didn't help that the three top prospects for this year's draft -- D Erik Johnson, C Phil Kessel and F Jonathan Toews -- didn't play because they aren't playing in the Canadian Hockey League. That robbed the game of some of its star power.

The weather didn't help, either.

That said, holding a junior hockey event such as the Top Prospects at Scotiabank Place was, in my opinion, a mistake.

The home of junior hockey in this town is the Civic Centre. Junior hockey fans obviously viewed a trek out to Kanata as an inconvenience, especially on a weeknight.

CIVIC DUTY

Because of its price and family-oriented marketing thrust, junior hockey here attracts a lot of kids. Many of them make their way on their own to the Civic Centre on public transit (judging by the crowds at the bus stops after Friday night's game). A trip to Scotiabank Place was likely unattractive to them, especially to see players they didn't know.

Another way to look at the crowd size -- it wasn't bad, given the circumstances.

chris.stevenson@ott.sunpub.com


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