Vancouver, Victoria to co-host 2019 world junior tournament
Tournament was last held in B.C. in 2006
Vancouver and Victoria will welcome the world's top under-20 hockey players in 2019 when the cities co-host the world junior hockey championship.
Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League announced the tournament's return to British Columbia on Thursday during a press conference at Rogers Arena.
"What it does is it puts everybody united and supporting something," said Ron Toigo, majority owner of the WHL's Vancouver Giants and co-chair of the 2019 host committee. "You put on an international event of this magnitude, everybody's wearing Canadian jerseys, everybody's proud about being a Canadian. It's a real good event for the community and the economy."
The tournament in Vancouver and Victoria will mark the 13th time Canada has hosted the world juniors.
"I can only hope the energy and the synergy that we feel today is at plus-10 when we put this event on," said Hockey Canada president and CEO Tom Renney. "This is about citizenship. It is about a population that is revered around the world for one reason and one reason only — we're flat out good people, and we want to do the right thing.
"By choosing Vancouver and Victoria as the host communities for the 2019 world junior championship, I believe we've delivered on that."
Canada's pool games in Vancouver
B.C. last hosted the event in 2006 in Vancouver, Kelowna and Kamloops, a tournament where Toigo was also heavily involved.
"You learn the enormous amount of volunteers required," he said. "Vancouver's an event city. We've got to work on logistics. The support is there regardless. People want to see this type of event. It's up to us to make sure we deliver."
Toigo said that all of Canada's pool games will be played at Rogers Arena, home of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, while Victoria will host Pool B during round-robin play. He hopes at least some pre-tournament games will be played across the province.
"We want to spread this around as much as we can," said Toigo.
The 2017 championship, co-hosted by Montreal and Toronto, opens Dec. 26.