Hersonissos (GREECE) – At the IIHF Semi-Annual Congress being held this week in Greece, Hockey Canada has been awarded the 2006 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, but has deferred its Halifax/Quebec City bid to host the 2007 IIHF Men’s World Championship to 2008, the same year the IIHF will celebrate its 100-year anniversary.
The announcement was made by Bob Nicholson, President of Hockey Canada, in Hersonissos, Crete, Greece, just before the IIHF Semi-Annual Congress was about to vote on the allocation of the 2007 Men’s World Hockey Championship.
“It’s tremendous to bring the World Juniors back to Canada,” said Bob Nicholson. “The World Junior Hockey Championship has become a Christmas-time tradition for Canadian hockey fans and we’re ecstatic to be bringing the event back to Canada in December, 2005/January, 2006.”
Canada has hosted the World Junior Hockey Championship six times, in Montreal (1978), in Hamilton (1986), in Saskatoon (1991), in Red Deer (1995), in Winnipeg (1999) and in Halifax (2003).
“As far as our bid for the Men’s World Championship, we have agreed, together with the IIHF, to move our bid to 2008 as we acknowledge the concerns regarding the IIHF’s current marketing agreement,” said Bob Nicholson. “With Canada moving its bid to 2008, the IIHF has worked with Hockey Canada to again bring the 2006 IIHF World U20 (World Junior) Championship to Canada.”
The IIHF’s marketing agreement with Infront Sports & Media is mainly geared towards the Men’s World Championship being played in Europe. That agreement expires in 2007.
“This was the best solution for all,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “Under the current marketing agreement, we would face several marketing related and financial obstacles if we were to hold the world championship in Canada in 2007. There will be a new agreement after 2007 and with the 2008 championship coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of the IIHF, there is almost a limitless potential with Canada applying for the 2008 championship.”
Canada must still apply and go through the proper approval process for the 2008 Men’s World Hockey Championship. The Halifax/Quebec City group will remain Canada’s official bid for 2008.
“Hockey Canada will continue to work with Halifax and Quebec City to meet the needs for the IIHF to bring the World Championship to Canada in 2008,” said Fred MacGillivray, chairman of the Halifax/Quebec City host committees.
“Holding the IIHF Men’s World Championship in 2008 presents a bigger potential for Hockey Canada,” said Bob Nicholson. “With Vancouver hosting the Winter Olympics in 2010, the 2008 World Championship will set the stage for the 2010 Olympics.”
In the coming months, Hockey Canada will reveal plans regarding the bid process for Canada’s hosting of the 2006 IIHF World Junior Championship.