On Friday afternoon, it was officially revealed that the city of Buffalo had been chosen to host the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships.
It’s the second time the city has hosted it, and the first United States city to host the event twice. However, that wasn’t the biggest news to come out of the announcement at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.
For the first time ever, the tournament is going to head outdoors. There was no confirmation of the participants or how many games will be played outdoors, but it is expected to be the annual matchup between the United States and Canada. The committee is targeting December 27th or 29th for the potential date.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) December 4, 2015
That won’t be confirmed until the seeds and teams are announced just prior to the event. During the conference, representatives from USA Hockey spoke of the somewhat controversial decision to bring the tournament back to Buffalo for the second-straight time.
“The last tournament held here in 2011 generated a huge following and we are even more excited about the organizing committee’s plans to hold an outdoor game as part of the tournament,” René Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation said. “This will be the first time ever that we’ve had such a game as part of the World Juniors, and an outdoor ice hockey game at Ralph Wilson Stadium will without a doubt be a memorable occasion.”
Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula stated that the ultimate goal is to make the downtown area have a village like atmosphere, similar to what spectators see at the Olympic Games.
“We do not do this in any sort of reach for power,” Pegula said. “We do this because we love the game and want to help players around the world get better.”
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.