Wednesday, July 29, 2015

St. Louis named finalist to host 2018 WJC

Blues owner Tim Stillman among 
committee looking to bring event to Scottrade Center

ST. LOUIS -- Scottrade Center has been host to the NCAA Frozen Four. Now Blues owner Tim Stillman wants to add it to the list as a host of the World Junior Championship.

St. Louis on Tuesday was named by USA Hockey as one of five cities as a finalist to host the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.

The other finalists are Chicago, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Tampa.

"We had interest of varying levels from more than a dozen entities," said Mike Bertsch, assistant executive director of marketing, communications and events for USA Hockey. "In the end, we're extremely pleased with the group of finalists. The time and effort each put into the materials that were submitted is impressive and we look forward to continued conversations with each of the finalists."

The WJC is a tournament for the top junior players under 20 and played annually in December-January. 

Bertsch said USA Hockey will have the host selected by the end of the year. 

"We'll likely further narrow the field in the next 60 days and then conduct in-person visits before making a final decision."

Led by the Blues, St. Louis has emerged as a hub for youth, amateur and pro hockey. Ten St. Louis natives have or currently are playing in the NHL, including Blues players Paul Stastny and Chris Butler, as well as Pat Maroon (Anaheim). St. Louisans Steve Cash and Billy Hanning represent the U.S. Paralympic Team and Jincy Dunne scored the game-winning goal in the gold medal game for the U.S. at the 2015 IIHF U-18 Women's World Championships.

Scottrade Center has hosted the Frozen Four in 2007, a regional in 2011 and will host the women's Frozen Four in 2017.

Along with Stillman, Blues president and CEO Chris Zimmerman, former Blues Brett Hull and Keith Tkachuk and Total Hockey founder Michael Benoit are part of the committee assembled to bring the event to St. Louis.

Current Blues Alex Pietrangelo (Canada) and Vladimir Tarasenko (Russia) are the most recent players to take part in the WJC.

This year's tournament will be held in Helsinki, Finland and the 2017 tournament will take place in Toronto and Montreal.

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