Alberta to welcome juniors

JASON HILLS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

Edmonton and Calgary don't get along on a lot of things but when it comes to the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, they very well could make history.

Edmonton and Calgary were shut out when they submitted a joint bid to host the 2009 tournament, but yesterday it was announced they had won the right to host the 2012 tournament.

"That's what we saw here in Alberta," said Canadian Hockey League president David Branch.

"The Flames, the Oilers, the (Calgary) Hitmen, the (Edmonton) Oil Kings, Hockey Alberta - everybody lined up to be a part of this and that just doesn't happen everywhere in our country."

The WJHC has long been a Canadian tradition during the Christmas season. But it's quickly becoming a Canadian tradition when it comes to hosting the tournament too.

Edmonton and Calgary's winning bid means three of the next four tournaments will be hosted by a Canadian city. Ottawa will host this year's tournament, while Regina and Saskatoon won the right to host the 2010 tournament.

When Alberta's two largest cities host the tournament in 2012, it will be the first time in 17 years the province has had that honour.

The last time was in Red Deer in 1995, when Canada ran the table and posted a perfect 7-0 record to the gold medal for the first time in the tournament's history.

"Every year the tournament has been held in Canada, the bar has been raised," said Branch. "It started in Red Deer, and it's continued on in Winnipeg, Halifax and Vancouver.

"I truly believe that when Edmonton and Calgary host this tournament in 2012, it could be the best in history."

The tournaments in Canada have long been the best attended throughout the tournnament's history.

Team Canada has won a medal in 10 consecutive tournaments and are on a streak of four straight championships.

Edmonton will see all of Canada's round-robin games, while Calgary will get the other pool's games and all of the the medal round, including relegation.

There are 31 games in total, and 10 games will be held in Edmonton.

Season ticket holders for all teams in the Western Hockey League's Central Division will have the first opportunity to purchase tournament tickets.


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