Tuesday, September 15, 2015

St. Louis among finalists for 2018 World Junior Championships

Buffalo and Pittsburgh chosen as final three 
cities, with one expected to be picked by end of year

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis was chosen as one of three finalists to host the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships, USA Hockey announced on Tuesday.

Along with St. Louis, Buffalo and Pittsburgh were named as the other two finalists. Chicago and Tampa were originally among the top five.

The contingency that leads the charge for St. Louis' bid includes the Blues and the St. Louis Sports Commission. The local committee working to bring the tournament to St. Louis includes Blues president and CEO Chris Zimmerman, former Blue and Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull, former Blue and United States Hockey Hall of Famer Keith Tkachuk, and Total Hockey Founder Michael Benoit.

A final decision is expected to be announced by the end of the year, and USA Hockey will make a visit to each city in the next month to get final proposals.

"We look forward to this next step in our selection process," said Mike Bertsch, assistant executive director of marketing, communications and events for USA Hockey. "It was extremely difficult to get down to three. All five of the cities we were considering made a compelling case."

If St. Louis is selected, Scottrade Center and Family Arena in St. Charles would be the host sites. The event takes place in late December and into early January.

"The Blues and Scottrade Center, and our partners at the St. Louis Sports Commission, recognized this event would have a scope and the ability to touch our city and region at a level we really haven’t done since the 1904 Olympics," Zimmerman said. "St. Louis has demonstrated its love for sports on so many levels. If you look back to the 2007 Frozen Four, St. Louis had the highest attendance of any arena-based Frozen Four in the history of the event. St. Louis is a great city that really rises to the occasion for these great amateur events."

Buffalo was the most recent host city in the United States in 2011.

Along with hosting the Frozen Four in 2007 and NCAA Regional in 2011, St. Louis will host the 2017 Women's Frozen Four.

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