International Ice Hockey Federation

To Buffalo in 2018

To Buffalo in 2018

Outdoor game as premiere for the event

Published 25.04.2017 09:17 GMT-4 | Author Martin Merk
To Buffalo in 2018
The Ralph Wilson Stadium will host an outdoor game of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship ten years after hosting an NHL Winter Classic game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Photo: Claus Andersen / Getty Images for NHLI
USA Hockey has selected the Buffalo Sabres with First Niagara Center, HARBORCENTER and Ralph Wilson Stadium as host for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The 10-nation tournament features the world's best male players under 20 years of age and is a 31-game event that takes place over the course of 10 days. The tentative dates are 26 December 2017 to 5 January 2018.

“It is a pleasure to have the IIHF World Junior Championship return to Buffalo,” said Rene Fasel, President of the International Ice Hockey Federation. “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. 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.”

The 18,690-seat First Niagara Center, home of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, was already the main venue of the 2011 World Juniors while HARBORCENTER will serve as secondary venue.

For the first time ever, the IIHF World Junior Championship will include an outdoor game as part of the preliminary round with the preferred match-up of the organizers being USA vs. Canada.

The Ralph Wilson Stadium is home to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. It hosted the 2008 NHL Winter Classic between the Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins in front of 71,217 spectators, the second highest single-game attendance in an NHL game.

It will be the second time an IIHF game will be hosted in a football stadium after the Germany vs. USA opening game of the 2010 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship that took place in front of 77,803 fans in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, which set a new world record at that time.

“It was an extremely difficult decision as all three finalists in contention to host the event were exceptional,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. “We’re excited to be returning to Buffalo and are most thankful for the extraordinary support of the Pegulas, and everyone involved with the Sabres and Bills organizations and Pegula Sports and Entertainment. We look forward to an outstanding event.”

Pittsburgh and St. Louis were the other candidates in the last part of the bidding process while Chicago and Tampa were also finalists before the field was narrowed to three.

“Needless to say we’re thrilled to be selected,” said Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills. “USA Hockey had three terrific finalists and we are truly honoured to be hosting this magnificent event. I know our community and region will be great hosts for teams and fans from around the world for what we expect to be the best World Junior Championship ever held in the U.S.”

"The World Juniors is one of the most anticipated championships on the hockey calendar each year and we look forward to having the event back in our country in 2018," said Jim Smith, President of USA Hockey. "We know Buffalo and Western New York will be outstanding hosts and an outdoor game will be a terrific addition to an already great event."

The next IIHF World Junior Championship opens on 26 December in Helsinki, Finland, while the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship will be hosted in Montreal and Toronto, Canada.

– with files from USA Hockey


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