Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
December 7, 2017, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Planning for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships that will be held in Victoria and Vancouver in December of 2018 and January of 2019 are well underway and Hockey Canada officials were on hand at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on Thursday to announce a number of items, perhaps the biggest being that ticket sales to the general public for the 14 games to be held here in Victoria will begin on Friday morning December 8 at 10:00 am Pacific time via the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre box office and via HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets.
Victoria will be in store for 14 games in total during the tournament, including two Team Canada pre-tournament games and 10 round-robin and two quarter-final games that will feature teams in the non-Canada pool. Other than the two pre-tournament games, all Team Canada games including playoffs, will be in Vancouver and fans can purchase tickets for those games as desired.
Hockey Canada’s Tom Renney provides an update on the 2019 IIHF World Juniors that are coming to Victoria (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
“The excitement in Vancouver, Victoria, and across the province around this event has been amazing,” noted Riley Wiwchar, the 2019 Tournament Director in a statement released by Hockey Canada at the press conference. “The results of the pre-sale exceeded our expectations; as we move into the phase of public sales, hockey fans can secure their event packages for Vancouver or Victoria at a variety of price points, with great seats still available,” added Wiwchar, whose Hockey Canada resume includes roles as the general manager of the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship in Toronto, the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Kamloops, B.C., and the Montreal lead at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. “The launch of ticket sales is a significant milestone not just for us as event organizers, but for the fans from across the country and around the world who begin to plan their travel to beautiful British Columbia.”
Hockey Canada representatives Tom Renney, Dean McIntosh and Mark Halliday and Barry Petrachenko, chief executive officer of BC Hockey and tournament co-chair, were also on hand at Thursday’s event and noted that ticket prices are being set at competitive levels and at those price levels that many fans are used to seeing in Major Junior hockey rinks across the country, noting that average per game prices should be in the range of $25-$28 dollars.
The teams that will be in the non-Canada pool and playing here in Victoria will not be known until the final standings of the 2018 tournament that begin this Boxing Day in Buffalo are known in early January. As an example, that pool includes the likes of Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Belarus, so fans here in Victoria, will be in for some entertaining hockey. Renney and company also indicated that the competition that Canada faces in the two pre-tournament games will also be “substantial.”
At Thursday’s press conference, officials also unveiled the official logo that will be used for the event, featuring a graphic of a player celebrating a big goal on a backdrop of the iconic Rockie Mountains and the Canadian Maple Leaf.
They also unveiled the key tagline, “REPRESENT,” a multi-faceted marketing campaign that speaks to the role that players, coaches, and fans play representing their community, province, and country through their involvement with the world juniors and to reflect the fact that the tournament is making its return to Canada and that it is time to get out and represent our Country and cheer for our players on home soil. A short promotional video was also unveiled.
“This has been an amazing experience so far, and it just becomes more fun as we get closer to next year’s event,” said tournament co-chairs Petrachenko and Ron Toigo, majority owner of the Vancouver Giants in a released statement. “Hockey fans came out in full force when Vancouver hosted in 2006, and we know they will be out to REPRESENT when Vancouver and Victoria host next year.”
In addition to the official tournament games in Vancouver and Victoria, at least 10 pre-tournament matches will be held in B.C. communities – expanding the impact of the event in the province. The Government of British Columbia has committed its support to the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.
“It’s incredibly exciting to welcome the World Juniors back to British Columbia for the upcoming championships,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “For the past century, BC Hockey has provided opportunities for youth to participate in sport. This year, hockey fans and players from across the province will have the opportunity to be a part of hockey history as teams prepare for the tournament in communities across the province.”
Hockey Canada has operated the IIHF World Junior Championship 12 times in the tournament’s 40-year history. The 2019 World Juniors will be co-hosted at the home of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, and at the Save-On Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria. Regional economic impact studies of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship estimated the financial spinoff for the host-communities to top $80 million.
“We are proud to once again host the IIHF World Junior Championships in Vancouver,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “It’s no secret that Vancouverites love their hockey and this promises to be a great event for all the fans out there. I look forward to working with our partners in Victoria to welcome the world back to the West Coast for what promises to be an unforgettable tournament.”
“The City of Victoria is excited to co-host this great international event,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “We look forward to joining fellow citizens in cheering on Team Canada inside the arenas and out in the community next year.”
A legacy plan for the potential profits of the event will provide for grassroots hockey program support across the province and throughout Hockey Canada’s 13 regional members, as well as the CHL. A portion of the profits are used by the IIHF to grow the game internationally.