Ottawa dream team unites for junior bid

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is convinced the city of Ottawa will be three times lucky.

Melnyk was on hand yesterday at Scotiabank Place where the 2009 IIHF world junior championship bid committee for Ottawa announced he will serve as chair.

Backed by Mayor Bob Chiarelli, the Ottawa 67's, Gatineau Olympiques, Kingston Frontenacs and Melnyk's St. Michael's Majors, Melnyk believes Ottawa's third bid for the tournament will be a winner.

"I really believe that we can't be beaten," Melnyk said yesterday. "We know it's going to be tough, but we feel like this bid is going be difficult to beat. We've got the people behind it and this is the first time that a bid has been backed by four junior teams.

"We've got excellent facilities. I'm going to be right behind this and make sure we give it all our support so that we can be successful with this bid. If we can win this bid, I really believe we're going to have a great world junior championships in this region."

Though Scotiabank Place would be the main rink for Team Canada's games, it's believed the Civic Centre, Robert Guertin Arena and Kingston Memorial Centre would all host games, too.

But the competition is stiff. There are six other regions -- Toronto, London, Saskatoon, Edmonton/Calgary, Montreal and Quebec City -- that are bidding to host the world juniors.

Montreal wants the world juniors as part of its celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Habs in 2009, but the bid is weakened by the fact there is no longer a junior hockey team in the area.

Toronto's lack of support for junior hockey will likely hurt its bid, too.

"The world junior championships have been played seven times in Canada and it has never been held in Ottawa," said Melnyk. "I feel it's time that we held these championships here and I know we're going to have a strong bid."

A big factor is going to be the cash guarantee made to Hockey Canada. The Vancouver bid for the 2006 championship, held over Christmas, guaranteed $5.2 million and ended up turning over more than $9 million to Hockey Canada. Indications are there will have to be a cash guarantee of $8-to-$10 million from the winning bidder.


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