OTTAWA - The 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship Ottawa bid committee announced today that Ottawa Senators and Scotiabank Place owner Eugene Melnyk will serve as its chair. Melnyk joins City of Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli and members of the Ottawa District Hockey Association, the Ottawa 67's, the Kingston Frontenacs and the Gatineau Olympiques in their quest to bring the prestigious international junior hockey championship to Ottawa.
"It has always been my commitment since becoming part the Ottawa community to show that we are Hockey Country," said Melnyk. "As chair of the committee, I am deeply committed to leading Ottawa's bid, and to providing the necessary resources and expertise within the Ottawa Senators organization and Capital Sports & Entertainment to support every aspect of this bid.
"I believe that any bid is only as good as the communities and organizations that stand behind it," added Melnyk. "And with the backing and expertise of four major junior franchises - the Ottawa 67's, the Kingston Frontenacs, the Gatineau Olympiques and my own St. Michael's Majors - as well as minor hockey and the City of Ottawa, I am very confident that we will prepare the most competitive bid possible to bring the 2009 IIHF World Hockey Championship to Hockey Country."
A strong lineup for Ottawa's bid: In addition to Melnyk serving as bid committee chair, the group also includes: City of Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli; ODHA president Jules Lavictoire; Jeff Hunt, owner and governor of the OHL's Ottawa 67's; Doug Springer, president and governor of the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL); Charlie Henry, governor of the QMJHL's Gatineau Olympiques; and vice-chair Cyril Leeder, Senators and Scotiabank Place chief operating officer.
"The City of Ottawa is pleased to be working with Eugene and to be part of this unprecedented hockey partnership to bring the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship to Ottawa," said City of Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli. "Two weeks ago, city council overwhelmingly showed its support in making our facilities and services available to the organizing committee. And I encourage all citizens of Hockey Country to rally behind this effort and demonstrate our grassroots support for hockey and for this event."
Senators lead bid to host 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship
Pledge your support at www.2009WJHC.com: Mayor Chiarelli also directed supporters of Ottawa's bid to visit the website. "There is a very easy, but tangible means to show your support by going to our website and letting Hockey Canada know that you want to see the world juniors here in Ottawa in December 2008. Go to www.2009WJHC.com," added Mayor Chiarelli.
The 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship will see 31 games played by 10 countries, including 20 round-robin match-ups, and bronze- and gold-medal games, from , through .
Hockey Canada's timelines until a final announcement are as follows: the letter of intent for a bid submission was to be provided by Feb. 1; bid presentations must be submitted to Hockey Canada by March 31; bids are presented in-person in April; and, in May, Hockey Canada's board of directors announces the location of the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The 2009 world junior championship site selection committee comprises Bob Nicholson (president, Hockey Canada), René Marcil (chair of the board, Hockey Canada), David Branch (president, Canadian Hockey League) and resource person Scott Smith (Hockey Canada's senior vice-president, business operations). This committee will review all bids and recommend a site to Hockey Canada's board of directors.
Canada has hosted the world junior championship seven times: Montreal (1978), Hamilton (1986), Saskatoon (1991), Red Deer (1995), Winnipeg (1999), Halifax (2003) and Vancouver (2006). Canada has never failed to medal on home ice, winning gold in 1991, 19; silver in 1982, 19; and a bronze in 1978.
Before the 2009 event in Canada, the 2007 world junior championship will be hosted by Sweden in Leksand and Mora. A host has not been selected for 2008.