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Saskatoon and Regina submitting joint bid to host 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship

Organizations in Saskatoon and Regina are joining forces in an effort to host the 2023 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship.

The IIHF announced in February that Russia lost its hosting rights of the 2023 World Junior Championship following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“This is an exciting opportunity to host the IIHF World Junior Championships throughout Saskatchewan with potential games being played in municipalities like Humboldt, Swift Current, Prince Albert, and Moose Jaw,” a joint press release from Tourism Saskatoon and Tourism Regina stated.

Tourism Saskatoon and Tourism Regina are collaborating with SaskTel Centre, The REAL Centre, Saskatoon Destination Marketing Hotels (SDMH), and the Regina Hotel Association for the submission to host the event on Saskatchewan soil.

Read more: IIHF calls for ethics probe of Russian federation, Fasel

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IIHF requested Hockey Canada build a hosting plan for the event following the announcement Russia would no longer be hosting, according to the release.

“Saskatoon and Regina are working in lockstep with local industry and municipalities to ensure that all the elements required for the business plan and event bid submission are ready for delivery to Hockey Canada on (April 4),” the joint press release read.

“Efforts made by the teams in Saskatoon and Regina to collaborate so quickly on this hosting opportunity demonstrate the epitome of Saskatchewan’s hosting excellence. SaskTel Centre is poised and ready to showcase our commitment to the legacy of hockey in Canada,” said John Howden, CEO SaskTel Centre.

Tourism Saskatoon CEO Stephanie Clovechok said Saskatoon and Regina’s hosting abilities were demonstrated in 2010 when both cities held the event.

“Hockey Canada reported that they had their highest revenues and attendance to date. This is an outstanding opportunity for our cities to come together, initiating growth and distributing economic opportunity throughout the entire province,” Clovechok said.

Read more: World junior hockey championship rescheduled for August in Edmonton

The release stated hosting the event could mean a $50-million economic impact.

“Saskatchewan people have long been known as the ultimate event hosts, we’ve got the people and the facilities to make this happen and to make it happen quickly, REAL District looks forward to making this event a great success for our city and our province,” said Tim Reid, President & CEO, REAL District.

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More than 20,000 visitors are also expected to travel to the event, with 10 federations representing their home countries.

The tourism groups expect 15,000 hotel room nights to be booked and the province to be “well positioned in the eyes of over 120 million worldwide through TSN broadcasts.”

“Tourism Regina is proud to be part of a collaborative team that is working to bring a world-class event to our province. This is an incredible opportunity to give our tourism and hospitality sector a much-needed boost as we work to recover from the pandemic,” said Chelsea Galloway, chief tourism and visitor growth officer for Tourism Regina.

Read more: Olympic hockey player Emily Clark enjoying golden return to Saskatoon

The press release said a final decision is expected on April 25 and April 26.

Saskatoon city council is holding a special meeting on Friday morning to consider an investment request from Tourism Saskatoon to co-host the event.

Meanwhile, Regina city council will also be holding a special meeting on Friday morning to consider a report on the joint bid.

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