USA Hockey announced today it has selected the Buffalo Sabres, along with First Niagara Center, HARBORCENTER and Ralph Wilson Stadium, as host for the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation World Under-20 Championship (commonly referred to as the IIHF World Junior Championship). The 10-nation tournament features the world's best men's players under 20 years of age and is a 31-game event that takes place over the course of 10 days.
For the first time ever, the IIHF World Junior Championship will include an outdoor game as part of the preliminary round with the likely matchup between the U.S. and Canada.
"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."
"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 honored 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."
"It is a pleasure to have the IIHF World Junior Championship return to Buffalo," said René 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 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."
Ticket information will be released in the first half of 2016. Fans can keep up-to-date by visiting BuffaloWorldJuniors.com.
The U.S. has earned eight medals in the event's history, claiming gold in 2004, 2010 and 2013, silver in 1997 and bronze in 1986, 1992, 2007 and 2011.