World's top women's hockey players will compete in Mohawk Valley in spring 2024
√ Prestigious international competition returns to New York after 30 years
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Utica was selected as the host city for the 2024 International Ice Hockey Federation World Women's Championship, tentatively slated for April 4-14, 2024. USA Hockey will host the event in conjunction with the Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority and the Adirondack Bank Center and the Utica University Nexus Center.
A press release stated, “The IIHF World Women's Championship is the premier international tournament in women's ice hockey. Utica will welcome 10 international teams, 350 players, 30,000 local spectators and 20,000 overnight spectators to the Mohawk Valley.”
Hochul added, "The 2024 IIHF World Women's Championship in Utica will mark the next chapter of New York's winter sports legacy. As the home of the 1994 IIHF World Women's Championship, as well as the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics and this year's FISU Winter World University Games, New York state is proud of its commitment to winter sports and tourism. Now, thanks to significant state investments and upgrades to local infrastructure, Utica and Oneida County are gearing up to host thousands of athletes and spectators for the world's most competitive women's ice hockey tournament, and welcome the world to the Mohawk Valley."
International Ice Hockey Federation President Luc Tardif said, "On behalf of the IIHF, I would like to congratulate the City of Utica for earning the honor of hosting the 2024 IIHF Women's World Championship. It is wonderful to be back in the United States for this important women's tournament, and even more so to return to the state of New York, which has more recently hosted the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship and the IIHF World Junior Championship, but has not hosted the Women's Worlds since way back in 1994. The last time the IIHF Women's World Championship was hosted by USA Hockey was back in 2017, which, history has shown, was one of the most important and exciting IIHF events ever. A lot has changed in the women's game from 1994 to 2017 to today, and although fans will certainly be thrilled to witness another chapter in the exceptional United States-Canada rivalry, we also encourage people to watch the teams from Europe and the Far East that are catching up and closing the gap. Finland and Sweden, Czechia and Switzerland, Germany and Japan have all had exceptional performances in Brampton, Ontario, in 2023, and we expect these nations to challenge the North Americans even more in 2024."
USA Hockey Executive Director Pat Kelleher said, "We're thrilled to have the IIHF Women's World Championship back in the U.S., and could not be more excited to bring the event to Utica. The leadership of the Mohawk Valley Garden group, led by Robert Esche, in partnering with us, and the support from the state of New York, Oneida County, Turning Stone Resort and the City of Utica has been fantastic. It's not often we get to host world championships in the U.S., and we know fans will enjoy the opportunity to see the best women's hockey players in the world in person next April."
Mohawk Valley Group President and Former NHL netminder Robert Esche said, "Hosting an event as prestigious as the IIHF Women's World Championship is truly an honor, and marks another milestone for the Utica University Nexus Center and Adirondack Bank Center as we continue to grow and build on the sports repertoire in the City of Utica. We are very lucky to be able to showcase the highest level of women's hockey in the world, and look forward to partnering with USA Hockey to create the best experience possible."
Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri said, "I am thrilled that the City of Utica will host the International Ice Hockey World Women's Championships. This is another sign of our momentum and great potential as a city. The City of Utica has a rabid hockey fanbase and a diverse hospitality culture that will make this event an unforgettable experience for the teams and our residents. This is all possible because New York state, Oneida County, Mohawk Valley Gardens and the City of Utica shared a vision and commitment to bring the Utica University Nexus Center to fruition. Thank you, Gov. Hochul, and all of the other partners that made this announcement possible. Our city will be ready to host a world-class event and we're excited for the first puck to drop."
In December 2022, Hochul announced the grand opening of the new, $64 million Utica University Nexus Center in downtown Utica, which was supported by $22 million through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The 170,000 square-foot, tournament-based recreation and sporting complex is utilized for ice hockey, box lacrosse, soccer and other field sports, and draws competitive teams from across the U.S. and Canada. The Nexus Center is projected to host 24 hockey and 24 lacrosse tournaments each year, welcoming more than 320,000 annual visitors and generating over $26 million annually in direct visitor spending.
New York state has supported the Adirondack Bank Center with $10.5 million for improvements to the facility. Additionally, Utica's downtown Genesee Street was selected as the winner of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) award in 2019, which is “helping vault the city toward a brighter future by attracting new businesses, residents and visitors to Utica.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "This is proof positive that our strategic investments in projects such as the Utica University Nexus Center, and initiatives such as the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, will drive the economy forward. We are pleased to celebrate Utica's success, and are thrilled that thousands of visitors will experience the great hockey culture in Utica and the great attractions in the Mohawk Valley region."
ESD Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "I LOVE NY is excited to welcome the IIHF World Women's Championship back to New York state. Utica is not just a great hockey town; the city and its surrounding region offer great attractions and activities to create a full vacation for both tournament participants and spectators alike. From unique culinary experiences to historic sites to outdoor recreation, we look forward to promoting the tournament as the latest opportunity for travelers to find what they love New York state."
The IIHF World Women's Championship debuted in 1990 and was last in New York state in 1994 when Lake Placid hosted the competition. The U.S. has hosted the IIHF Women's World Championship on four previous occasions. Other host cities have included Burlington, Vermont; and Minneapolis. Canada and the United States have dominated the championship since its inception. Canada won gold at the first eight consecutive tournaments and the U.S. has won gold at nine of the past 11 tournaments.