Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Winnipeg scores another winner

Under-17 tourney stands city in good stead with Hockey Canada

  • Print

If you're detecting a trend here, you're not alone.

Hockey Canada just can't seem to go wrong with an event in Winnipeg.

The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, which concluded Tuesday night with Team Ontario's 5-3 win over Team USA at the MTS Centre, attracted 45,066 spectators for its seven-day run.

Tuesday's gold-medal game smashed a record for attendance, 12,060, and while the overall spectator mark fell short of the tournament record, it's worth noting that all preliminary games were played at the new MTS Iceplex's Winnipeg Free Press Arena, capacity 1,500, and at Portage la Prairie's PCU Centre, capacity 1,900.

"It's another benchmark for the community in terms of hosting Hockey Canada-related tournaments," said True North Sports and Entertainment CEO Jim Ludlow. "I think it was a great experience for our people and I think it's a been a professional-level experience for the athletes, coaches and general managers of the teams."

The tournament has been a golden opportunity for True North to show off its new MTS Iceplex, which opened in late summer.

It's been the hub for all 10 teams in the tournament, for dressing rooms, practice and dining.

"It's a great venue here (the MTS Centre) and with the opening of the new four-pad on the west side of the city, another great opportunity to promote the Hockey Canada and True North relationship," said Ryan Robins, the event manager for Hockey Canada. "And obviously the city of Winnipeg is a hockey hotbed. All of that makes it a good fit here.

"We've got a history of working with the folks from True North. The Women's Worlds was a great success (2007), we brought some women's pre-Olympic games here in 2006 and obviously some pre-competition games from the World Junior in North Dakota."

This World Under-17 was just the opening salvo of a two-year stay here for the tournament.

Whatever wrinkles there may have been will be addressed and ironed out, quite possibly a new partner venue or venues among them.

Both Robins and Ludlow said Tuesday attendance at games in Portage was less than expected and that the tournament will be exploring other options for next year.

"Portage is not carved in stone for next year," Robins said. "We'll be checking into some other potential partner communities."

And of course, there will be an almost-total turnover of players to 1995-born players. Only a handful of those 1995s played this year.

But names are now known.

"If you didn't know a lot about the under-17's and you've been here, you'll probably approach it a lot differently next year," Robins said. "We think there will be a growing appreciation for the product, that it's not just another midget tournament.

"This is the first step to where these athletes get recognized. You'll be hearing a lot of these names in the new few years, at the under-18s, at the World Junior, at the NHL draft."

Speaking of the World Junior, the question on a lot of minds is whether the successful operation of yet another Hockey Canada event increases Winnipeg's currency when it comes to the WJC.

Which, incidentally, appears to be headed back to Canada every other year for the rest of the decade.

Ludlow was cryptic on that subject.

"We like to position ourselves to do what we can do for Hockey Canada and the community," he said. "If at the end of the day that puts us in a good position to bid on a tournament, all the better."

By the time the next wave of future stars hit Manitoba next Christmas, that bidding and politicking will have begun again.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 5, 2011 D1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Doug Speirs trains for role in Nutcracker

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Ruth Bonneville Winnipeg Free Press January 18, 2011 Local Standup -
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100527-Winnipeg Free Press THe Provencher Foot Bridge is lit up

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who should get more playing time in Jets net?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google