World Juniors a hot ticket
When the final numbers were tabulated, more than 175,000 people registered for the public priority draw, hoping to claim some of the 275,000 tickets that were made available. But many people who were selected to purchase tickets were unable to do so, largely because of how fast tickets were purchased by those who had first access.
An additional 225,000 tickets had previously been made available to and purchased by season ticket holders of the Calgary Hitmen, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oil Kings and Edmonton Oilers.
“We anticipated a huge demand for tickets to this event, but we did not anticipate the rush in registrations,” said Al Coates, the tournament’s general manager.
“We understand the frustration. People were selected to purchase tickets and the inventory we had was gone.”
The 2012 championships will be contested in Calgary and Edmonton. Calgary will host 21 games, including 10 Group ‘A’ preliminary round contests, the quarter- and semifinal matches and gold and bronze medal games. Countries playing in Group ‘A’ are Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia and Latvia. Edmonton will host Group ‘B’ games featuring Canada, United States, Finland, Denmark and the Czech Republic.
This will mark the second time Alberta has hosted the event, the first coming in Red Deer in 1995, and the tenth time Canada has staged the tournament, dating back to 1978 in Montreal.
“The frenzy in this country surrounding the world juniors has grown and grown. We have clear evidence of that,” said Coates, citing ticket sales from the recently completed 2011 tournament in Buffalo, where Canadians purchased 78 per cent of all available tickets. The numbers for this year’s event are similar, with over 80 per cent of tickets bought by Canadians — Albertans specifically — and less than five percent by fans outside the country.
Until the tournament officially kicks off this December, organizers will be addressing between seven and nine “major facets,” including volunteers, further ticket concerns and additional public events. Organizers are also looking at possible venues to stage pre-tournament games, including those outside Calgary and Edmonton, although nothing has been finalized, said Coates.
“It’s a matter of gauging where the interest lies,” he said.
“Our biggest challenge is still organizing everything that needs to be organized, from the hundreds of volunteers that will be in both Calgary and Edmonton to media requests to the day to day issues,” said Coates.
The 2012 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships run from Dec. 26, 2011 through Jan. 5, 2012.