Team Canada camp coming to St. Catharines
Junior hockey fans in Niagara are in for a treat.
As a precursor for the World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo, the Niagara IceDogs will play host to Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp at the Meridian Centre from December 12-15.
The camp will feature three pre-tournament games, two against a U Sports All-Star Team comprised of Canadian University All-Stars, and a final game against Team Denmark.
On Wednesday, Dec. 13 Team Canada will play the U Sports All-Stars at 7 p.m. The next night, Thursday, Dec. 14, the teams will square off again at 4 p.m. And on Friday, Dec. 15, Team Canada and Team Denmark will play at 2 p.m. The IceDogs host the North Bay Battalion that night at 7 p.m. as well.
IceDogs owner Bill Burke is thrilled to have the camp in St. Catharines.
“We all know what we do Boxing Day,” Burke said of the Canadian ritual to watch the tournament the day after Christmas. “It’s so exciting for our community to see the greatest Canadian junior players up front and then to see the games. It’s going to be a great week of hockey prior to the week of Christmas.”
Burke said he spent hours putting together the deal.
“Persistence breaks down resistance,” he said. “We were the main contact and have had meetings and conference calls and worked awfully hard to secure the home here.”
Team Sweden will also make St. Catharines their home for camp from Dec. 11-23 and will use the Seymour-Hannah Sports Complex.
Burke said the list is extensive of what is expected out of the host.
“We offer the laundry and skate sharpening and all the repairs and all the stuff they need they wouldn’t have in many areas.” he said. “We were battling because they also have exhibition games in Hamilton and London and there was a thought they may want to be closer to those locations for travel but we convinced them this was the place to be.”
Ticket packages are available for $40 per seat which gets purchaser a seat for each of the three pre-tournament games as well as a Niagara IceDogs ticket voucher, valid for the value sections at any one of the following IceDogs home games: Dec .15 vs. North Bay; Dec. 16 vs. Barrie Colts; Dec. 31 vs. Hamilton; Jan. 4 vs. Guelph; Jan. 6 vs Sudbury; Jan. 7 vs Kingston; Jan. 11 vs. Erie; Jan. 12 vs. Barrie and Jan. 17 vs. Kitchener.
Contact the Niagara IceDogs office at (905) 687-3641 or email Brianne Whitty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship will be hosted by the city of Buffalo at the KeyBank Centre and Harbor Center. It will begin on Dec. 26, 2017, and will end with the gold medal game being played on Jan. 5, 2018. Buffalo also hosted the event in 2011. A preliminary round game between Canada and the United States will also be played outdoors at New Era Field in Orchard Park on Dec. 29. It will mark the first ever outdoor game played during an IIHF world championship at the junior level.