Buffalo to host 2011 world hockey juniors

USA Hockey announced Monday that Buffalo will host the 2011 world junior hockey championship.

USA Hockey announced Monday that Buffalo will host the 2011 world junior hockey championship.

"Buffalo is a wonderful city and we could not be more pleased to be bringing the world juniors to western New York," USA Hockey president Ron DeGregorio said in a release.

"The Sabres are a first-class organization and the participants and fans from around the world will have the chance to experience that first hand."

Buffalo beat out bids from Grand Forks, N.D., and Minneapolis-St. Paul to win the right to host the event, which will run from Dec. 26, 2010, to Jan. 6, 2011.

Ten different countries will be represented, and 31 games will take place.

Games will be played at Buffalo's HSBC Arena and Niagara University, about a half-hour drive north of the city.

"This is a city with a reputation of a hockey town, and a franchise that has a reputation of being very good in the community," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "We believe this will be the most successful world championship held in the United States."

Buffalo is among the NHL's strongest markets and successfully hosted the NCAA Frozen Four tournament in 2003.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Sabres owner Thomas Golisano attended the Monday afternoon news conference for the announcement.

"We're extremely supportive of USA Hockey and Hockey Canada, but events of this magnitude don't take place unless initiated at the local level. Without Tom Golisano and the Sabres organization, this doesn't happen," said Bettman.

It's estimated the tournament will bring $20 million US in economic benefits to the region.

"This is a huge win for Buffalo and all of hockey-loving western New York," said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer in a prepared statement. "This marquee event will bring much-needed tourism dollars and first-rate hockey talent from around the world."

Scotty Bowman, who lives in Buffalo and is the current senior adviser of hockey operations for the Chicago Blackhawks, will serve as honorary vice-chairman.

Ottawa will stage the 2009 world junior hockey championship, while Saskatoon and Regina will host the 2010 tournament.

With files from the Associated Press