Ottawa bid nets success

Jeff Hunt hams it up on Parliament Hill after winning the Ottawa bid for the 2009 Junior World...

Jeff Hunt hams it up on Parliament Hill after winning the Ottawa bid for the 2009 Junior World Hockey Championships on Wednesday. (Ottawa Sun/Sean Kilpatrick)

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:12 AM ET

Only a few hockey stories could bump an Ottawa Senators run for a Stanley Cup into the background.

And one happened yesterday when Hockey Canada announced that Ottawa won the bid to host the 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.

"It's deeply gratifying for me personally and, needless to say, it's a great day for the nation's capital," said Senators owner Eugene Melnyk who served as bid chairman.

The hockey extravaganza begins on Boxing Day of 2008 and extends into the new year, before culminating in the gold medal championship to be held at Scotiabank Place.

Ottawa had tried to host the prestigious tournament the last three times it was held in Canada, but lost to Vancouver (2006), Halifax (2003) and Winnipeg (1999).

Bob Nicholson, president of Hockey Canada and a member of the selection committee, said Ottawa's bid was the best among contenders from Montreal, Toronto, Saskatoon and a joint effort from Edmonton/Calgary.

"It was a tough, tough decision. All the bids were excellent," said Nicholson. "But when we went through it, Ottawa was definitely the best bid."

PROFIT PROMISED

"They hit all the key elements," said Canadian Hockey League president Dave Branch, who also served on the selection committee.

The Ottawa committee guaranteed Hockey Canada a $12.5 million profit and has projected a return of $13.6 million. By comparison, Vancouver's recent hosting of the world juniors saw a profit of nearly $9.5 million.

Melnyk will be on the hook if the profit falls anything short of the guarantee.

"Financially, there's nothing conservative about Eugene Melnyk," said 67's owner Jeff Hunt. "He wanted to make sure we would have no reason we would lose this time. He really stepped up, and I'm sure that made a big difference."

The province also contributed $2 million to help the Ottawa bid.

Hockey Canada gets half the profits that will fund development projects. The other slice is divided at a 35-15 rate between the Canadian Hockey League and the minor hockey district branches respectively.

The Ottawa District Hockey Association stands to gain at least $500,000.

"As much as I was disappointed that we lost out on the last few bids, I'm so happy that we were able to win it this time," said ODHA president Jules Lavictoire.

The economic spinoff of the tournament for the Ottawa region is estimated at $50-million.

"To put this in perspective, it would be equivalent to us hosting four Grey Cups," Melnyk said.

Ottawa mayor Bob Chiarelli, who also served on the bid committee, called yesterday's announcement "a good day for everybody in the national capital region."

Hunt said pricing for the tickets would be affordable.


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