For 11 days, it will capture the attention of the Canadian hockey world.
But organizers of the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship hope the benefits of playing host to the tournament live on for years to come in the nation’s capital.
With that thought in mind, the federal Conservative government announced today $750,000 in funding for the legacy funds of the 2009 Ottawa World Juniors, the 2010 tournament in Saskatoon-Regina and the 2012 event in Calgary-Edmonton.
“When the cheering dies down and all the players have gone home, it’s important to provide a legacy from these exciting events,” said Ottawa-West Nepean MPP John Baird, who made the announcement on behalf of federal sports minister Helena Guergis. “This money will be used to build community legacy projects, to encourage young boys and girls to participate in hockey and for investments in facilities in host cities.” Symbolizing those benefits were a group of atom and novice players from the Nepean Minor Hockey Association, who were on hand at the Nepean Sportsplex for the announcement.
Bob O’Doherty, general manager of the Ottawa host organizing committee, said the Tory announcement “will allow us to enhance our ability to manage the local legacy fund here in Ottawa in partnership with the Ottawa District Hockey Association to ensure the growth and development of amateur hockey in the Ottawa area.”
The federal funding was also applauded by Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.
“Our nation has an exceptional record of hosting the IIHF World Junior Championship,” said Melnyk, the host organizing committee’s chairman. “The magnitude of this world-class event serves to remind all Canadians how important hockey is to our cultural, economic and sport identities.
“When we are given an opportunity such as this to host the world, we need to join together to showcase Canada and our national pride.”
The 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship runs December 26 to January 5, with 17 games scheduled for Scotiabank Place and another 14 to be played at the Ottawa Civic Centre.