Hockey Canada Network |
Volunteer Impressed By WJC's Remarkable Growth
Rob Brodie
September 15, 2008

It has become a must-see event on the Canadian hockey calendar each and every year.

But Larry Skinner remembers a time when hopes weren’t nearly as high for the IIHF World Junior Championship, which traces its roots all the way back to a rather modest invitational tournament back in 1974 in Winnipeg.

“It was a just a trial run to see if the thing would go over well,” said Skinner, the co-chairman of that event for the Canadian Hockey Association (now Hockey Canada). “They didn’t know it was going to grow into what it has become now. It’s fantastic.”

The event was held in a rink with 8,000 seats that was never full. Contrast that to the 2009 tournament, to be played at Scotiabank Place and the Ottawa Civic Centre, with a record 440,000-plus tickets already sold.

“We had pretty good crowds back then, but not like they do today,” said Skinner.

He went on to work on the CHA’s behalf at five World Juniors – 1978 (Montreal), 1982 (Rochester, MN), 1986 (Hamilton, ON), 1991 (Saskatoon, SK) and 1995 (Red Deer, AB) – before retiring from his post as director of marketing with the association.

The latter tournament, which featured a sold-out final game at the Saddledome in Calgary, is widely recognized as the year the World Juniors hit the big time. Skinner has no doubt this year’s event in the nation’s capital will be a roaring success.

“I’m not surprised at all,” he said of the support Hockey Country has already shown for the 2009 World Juniors. “I see what happens here with the Senators. This is a hockey hotbed here in Ottawa. It’s been a great hockey town since I’ve been here (in the 1970s).”

Skinner was a part of two previous failed bids to land the tournament for Ottawa. He couldn’t be happier that the tournament is finally set to happen here, from December 26 to January 5.

“It was great to see it happen at last,” he said. “When it came about, I was very pleased. A lot of work had gone into the previous bids.”
At 78, Skinner will be a part of it all once more as one of more than 2,000 tournament volunteers. He’ll be the co-chairman (with Bob Pugh) of the VIP and NHL hospitality rooms in both venues, overseeing a staff of 30 to 40 volunteers.

“When it came up, I originally wasn’t too excited about it, having (already) been involved with it in the past,” said Skinner. “I’m 78 years old. I thought ‘what am I doing?’ But Frank Libera (the host organizing committee’s co-director of hospitality and protocol) talked me into coming back in an area that wouldn’t involve too much running around.”

For more information:

André Brin
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada

Francis Dupont
Manager, Media Relations/Communications
Hockey Canada

Jason LaRose
Manager, Content Services
Hockey Canada

Kristen Lipscombe
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada

Keegan Goodrich
Coordinator, Media
Hockey Canada

2014 WU18C: CAN 3 - SWE 1
Apr 17, 2014
Virtanen scored twice to lead Canada to the tournament-opening win.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 5 – USA 1
Mar 30, 2014
U18 women win gold.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 1 – RUS 0 (OT)
Mar 29, 2014
Canada edges Russia in overtime.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 5 – CZE 0
Mar 26, 2014
Canadians shut out Czechs.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 7 – FIN 0
Mar 24, 2014
U18 women blank Finland.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 7 – JPN 1
Mar 23, 2014
Canada starts Worlds with win
2014 PARA: CAN 3 – NOR 0 (Bronze)
Mar 15, 2014
Billy Bridges scored a pair of goals to lead Canada to a Paralympic bronze.
2014 PARA: USA 3 – CAN 0 (Semifinal)
Mar 13, 2014
Corbin Watson made seven saves, but Canada will play for Paralympic bronze.
2014 PARA: CAN 1 – CZE 0 (Preliminary)
Mar 11, 2014
Westlake scored the lone goal to help Canada to a perfect preliminary round.
2014 PARA: CAN 4 – NOR 0 (Preliminary)
Mar 09, 2014
Adam Dixon scored twice to lead Canada to its second straight win in Sochi.
2014 PARA: CAN 10 – SWE 1 (Preliminary)
Mar 08, 2014
Gale, Dixon and Rempel had four points each to lead Canada to a win.
2010 OLYW: Flag Raising
Feb 10, 2010
Canada's National Women's Team taking part in the Flag Raising ceremony at the Olympic Village in Vancouver, B.C.
Photo Credit: