After hosting in 2011 to rave reviews, it appears that Buffalo has been selected to host the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships. USA Hockey has called a press conference for 3 p.m. on Friday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, to make the announcement.
The news was first reported but The Buffalo News.
Buffalo beat out other finalists Pittsburgh and St. Louis to host the championship for the second-straight time on United States soil. Chicago and Tampa Bay were also part of the selection process over the summer. It will be the first US city to host the tournament twice.
When the city last held the event in 2011, the auxiliary rink for smaller games was 40 minutes away in Lewiston, NY. Since then, Buffalo Sabres and Bills owner Terry Pegula has constructed HARBORCENTER, which is adjacent to First Niagara Center. Providing a second rink right next door to the main facility was a big selling point to the selection committee.
The conference to make the announcement will include USA Hockey officials as well as Pegula and Sabres and Bills president Russ Brandon. It will be televised on the NHL Network as well as shown live on NHL.com and USAHockey.com.
There will also be one more major news announcement during the conference. According to multiple reports, the reason that the conference is happening at Ralph Wilson Stadium is because it is expected that the United States vs. Canada game on New Year’s Eve will be played outdoors. This would be the first time in the tournament’s history that a game has been played outside, and it will take place at the site of the first outdoor NHL regular season game.
I'm hearing one reason the news conference is at Ralph Wilson Stadium is because the Canadian/USA game will likely be played outdoors
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) December 3, 2015
Which is to say there will be outdoor game, expected to be CAN-USA but schedule/divsions etc., of course, not set yet. But that's the plan.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 3, 2015
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.