VANCOUVER, BC – Hockey fans across British Columbia and Canada can already start to fill in this year’s holiday calendars following today’s announcement of the groupings and schedule for the 2006 IIHF World Junior Championship.
With preliminary rounds being played in Vancouver, Kelowna and Kamloops, the world’s best junior hockey players will be on display for 11 days starting .
Canadian hockey fans’ passion for the 2006 World Junior Championship has been evident once again with brisk ticket sales prior to the schedule release. Tournament tickets are available in packages only and Kelowna and Kamloops tickets have sold very well while less than 5 percent of Vancouver’s ticket packages remain available.
“We’re well on our way to having full buildings and we strongly recommend that interested fans make their ticket purchase decision soon,” said General Manager Stu Ballantyne.
The tournament will begin on with the reigning champion Team Canada hosting Finland at the Pacific Coliseum. General Motors Place will host the medal round games with the Gold Medal Game being played on Thursday, .
Groupings were established based on the seeding following the 2005 tournament in North Dakota. Norway and Latvia are new additions to the 2006 tournament after finishing first in their respective groups during the IIHF World U20 Championship, Division I.
Vancouver Grouping (Group A)
Canada (1), United States (4), Finland (5), Switzerland (8) and Norway (9)
Kelowna/Kamloops Grouping (Group B)
Russia (2), Czech Republic (3), Sweden (6), Slovakia (7) and Latvia (10)
“We have 31 games in 11 days across three cities and four buildings,” proclaimed Organizing Committee Chair, Ron Toigo. “The seeding system has worked perfectly for our communities with great teams on display every day.”
“For the communities of Kelowna and Kamloops, the chance to host the likes of Russia, the Czech Republic and Sweden should raise the enthusiasm and intensity for those people who’ve had the chance to secure their seats,” said Bruce Hamilton, Co-Chair of the Kelowna Organizing Committee.
The 2006 IIHF World Junior Championship in Kamloops, Kelowna and Vancouver will mark the seventh time that this international event has been staged in Canada and the first time it will be held in British Columbia. Other years in which Canada hosted this Championship were in 2003 (Halifax, NS), 1999 (Winnipeg, MB), 1995 (Red Deer, AB), 1991 (Saskatoon, SK), 1986 (Hamilton, ON), and 1978 (Montreal, QC). Grand Forks, North Dakota hosted the event in 2005.