Having tournament real Hit for local coach

WES GILBERTSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

If nothing else, Dave Lowry is pleased he won't have to set his alarm for the wee hours of the morning.

Whenever the world junior hockey championship is held overseas, the new Calgary Hitmen head coach has to sacrifice a bit of sleep to watch Canada's brightest young stars in action.

That won't be an issue in 2012, when Calgary and Edmonton will join forces to host the annual event.

"I think it's exciting," Lowry said. "We just hope that when it comes time to host, that we have some players that are involved in the program."

The local Western Hockey League club has provided a steady stream of talent to the national under-20 program.

Former Hitmen blueliner Karl Alzner captained Team Canada to top spot at the 2008 world junior tournament in Parbudice, Czech Republic and also claimed gold two years ago in Leksand, Sweden.

Goalie Justin Pogge backstopped the Canadians to the title in 2006 in Vancouver, while sharpshooter Ryan Getzlaf made back-to-back trips to the event -- winning gold in 2005 in Grand Forks, N.D., and silver in 2004 in Helsinki, Finland.

When Hockey Canada announced the successful bid yesterday, they said season-ticket holders for Alberta's five WHL outfits -- the Hitmen, Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers and Red Deer Rebels -- would likely get first crack at seats.

Lowry, a former Calgary Flame, doesn't think selling the extra duckets will be a problem. Asked if he expected the Saddledome to be sold-out for tournament games, he did not hesitate.

"Absolutely," he said. "There are very passionate fans here."

The 2012 tournament will mark the first time the world juniors has been held in Alberta since 1995, when Red Deer was the hub for an event that featured games in about a dozen Alberta communities, including three in Calgary.


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