Halifax is now hosting the best under-20 hockey plays from around the globe who are competing for gold at the world juniors.
Fans say it’s incredible to watch Team Canada play from the stands in Halifax for the first time since 2003. Both Halifax and Moncton are co-hosting the event this year.
“I’ve never been to the world juniors before and this is something that when it came around, it was a no-brainer,” attendee Alec Cranston said.
“I’m a big fan of hockey and played hockey my whole life. I currently coach hockey. So to come to this and support Team Canada, and to be here with my best friends, it’s going to be a great time.”
His friend Reilly Letterick agrees.
“I’ve been a big hockey fan my whole life and everything so I always wanted to go to the world juniors,” he says. “And the fact that they’re here makes it nice and easy.”
They say it’s the perfect time to head out into the city with your loved ones and take the games in over the holidays.
Meantime, Halifax Regional Police say you should pack your patience, as large crowds and traffic delays are expected during the tournament. They recommend you hop on a bus or take the ferry if you can and to keep a close eye on little ones, who they say can easily get lost in large crowds.
Read more: Indigenous artists paint special hockey sticks to be awarded to world junior players at tournament
The Halifax Convention Centre has been drawing in people of all ages to its fan fest with live music and games played on the big screen as part of celebrations for the world juniors.
Two young fans were there to take in the games and have fun at the various activities, like bouncy castles and shooting hoops.
“It’s cool,” Nick Soubliere says.
“Well, we go to the Moose games, and like it’s crazy that Team Canada is playing here,” adds Jack Soubliere.
The Executive Vice President of Events East Group, who manages and operates the Halifax Convention Centre and Scotiabank Centre, says it’s good to show that downtown is open again, especially after some tough pandemic years.
“This is a really amazing time of year to get out, support our downtown business community, enjoy one of the local restaurants, one of the local bars, take your kids, enjoy some of the games,” Suzanne Fougere says.
Team Canada is opening the IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championship with a Boxing Day matchup at Scotiabank Centre on Monday night.