St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen says the city has looked at trying to host the World Junior Hockey Championship, but economics will make a bid nearly impossible.
From 2019 to 2032, Canada will play host to the World Juniors six times, with next year’s tournament happening in Vancouver and Victoria, B.C.
There have been some rumblings on local Twitter about the idea of St. John’s hosting the tournament — and it turns out city officials have had the same thought.
The bad news for hockey fans is that Hockey Canada requires an approximately $15-million revenue guarantee from a host city, which Breen says is too high for the city to put in a bid on its own.
“We’ve had a look at it. The cash guarantee on it is incredible,” said Breen.
“There has been talk of Halifax putting in a bid with Moncton. If that were the case, I’d be interested in looking at playing a pre-tournament exhibition or looking at being involved in that in some way.”
Considering that the most recent Canada-based under-20 tournament was held in Toronto and Montreal — both boasting arenas that can hold over 20,000 fans — the approximately 6,000 seats at Mile One Centre comes up short. Even if nearby municipalities offer their stadiums — like Torbay’s Jack Byrne Arena and the Mount Pearl Glacier, the number of seats to fill still doesn’t look promising for a bid.
That said, with attendance numbers for the World Juniors coming up short in recent years, Breen says it’s not impossible Hockey Canada could re-examine its arrangement with host cities.
However, Breen says the city is actively looking for more opportunities to show off its sports event hosting capabilities. The St. John’s Brier is up for an Event of the Year award, up against the Winnipeg Canada Summer Games and the Invictus Games in Toronto. Breen says that bodes well for any future bids for events.
“The World Women’s Hockey Championship is the right size for us. I’d love to go after a Skate Canada event — the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. That’d be something,” said Breen.
“We were unsuccessful in our bid for the World Curling Championship. We’re looking at keeping all those things on the radar.”
Breen says there are no active campaigns being organized by the city to bring any such event together, but it’s something city staff will keep an eye on to organize for future deadlines.