Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

October 27, 2008

SABRES NOTES: USA Hockey makes tourney official

BUFFALO — USA Hockey’s announcement on Monday wasn’t groundbreaking news, but it was still nice to hear — the 2011 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships will be coming to HSBC Arena and Niagara University’s Dwyer Arena.

On a day when the Sabres suffered their first defeat in regulation — a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Ottawa Senators — it was the lone stroke of good news.

The 10-day tournament is the premier international event for the best male players under the age of 20. Ten different countries will be represented, and 31 games will take place over 10 days starting on Dec. 26, 2010.

“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,” Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, said. “We believe this will be the most successful World Championship held in the United States.”

The Sabres sponsored the bid on behalf of the city, which was immediately considered a favorite because of its closeness to hockey-mad Canada. Buffalo is also 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 a 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.

The tournament is estimated to bring $20 million in economic benefits to the region.

Other finalists to host the tournament were Grand Forks, N.D., and Minneapolis- St. Paul, each of which had previously hosted the event.

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.

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