OTTAWA – To begin its defence of four consecutive gold-medal wins, Canada will open the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship against the Czech Republic on Friday, Dec. 26, at 7:30 p.m. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and Hockey Canada announced today the schedule for the world junior championship, to be held in Ottawa from December to January. All 31 games will be played in Ottawa at the respective homes of the Ottawa Senators and Ottawa 67’s over a 10-day period.
“The preliminary-round schedule at both venues offers fans exciting, traditional rivalry matchups,” said Cyril Leeder, vice-chair of the host organizing committee. “Since the IIHF went to this preliminary-round and medal-games format for the championship in 1996, Canada has faced each of its preliminary-round opponents, including two gold-medal meetings against the United States. The same goes for the other group at the Civic Centre, where you have fierce rivals Finland, Russia and Sweden battling.”
Defending champion Canada leads off Group A, playing all of its games at SBP Arena. It will be joined by the United States, the Czech Republic, Germany and Kazakhstan. Group B, which will see all its action at the Civic Centre, will feature 2008 silver medallist Sweden, bronze medallist Russia, Finland, Latvia and Slovakia.
The 31-game schedule, listed below, sees Canada open against the Czech Republic for the second year in a row on Friday, Dec. 26, at 7:30 p.m. The matinee game at SBP Arena will see the United States meet Germany at 3:30 p.m. The tourney’s first game will see Russia face Latvia at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 26 at the Civic Centre, which is also where the all-Scandinavian matchup between Finland and Sweden takes place later that day at 6:30 p.m.
“Everyone involved, from the IIHF, Hockey Canada and the host organizing committee, is looking forward to the first world junior championship to be played in one city,” added Bob O’Doherty, general manager for the championship. “We are committed to making this the best world junior championship ever and we have no doubt that we will be able to deliver. We are getting strong volunteer support from the community, committed sponsorship activity at all levels, participation from the embassies and enthusiasm from Hockey Country’s minor hockey associations.”
Canada’s other preliminary- round games include: Kazakhstan on Sunday, Dec. 28; Germany on Monday, Dec. 29; and New Year’s Eve against the United States on Wednesday, Dec. 31, at 7:30 p.m.
The bronze- and gold-medal games will be played at SBP Arena on Monday, Jan. 5, at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively.
All gold, silver and bronze ticket packages, for a total of more than 440,000 tickets or 95 per cent of capacity, have been sold. The 31-game packages were sold out prior to the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic, and the remaining 3,500 17-game packages were picked up during the championshipfollowing Canada’s fourth consecutive gold-medal win on . The 23,249 remaining tickets are in available suites at both venues and are required to fill ticket commitments for the IIHF, Hockey Canada, and sponsors.
The 2009 WJC Ticket Marketplace will be launched in October 2008 giving fans who have purchased ticket packages the ability to re-sell games that they cannot attend. The marketplace will be the official ticket reseller for the event and will be the best place for those without ticket packages to purchase tickets.