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Hockey tourney likely here

USA Hockey was still putting the finishing touches on the final details today, but it appears the best amateur hockey tournament in the world is coming to Buffalo in two years.

The top governing body for hockey in the United States has scheduled a news conference for Monday afternoon in HSBC Arena. It's widely believed USA Hockey will announce that the 2010-11 World Junior Hockey Championships will be held here.

USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer did not confirm or deny whether Buffalo was awarded the tournament when reached Friday afternoon. Buffalo Sabres spokesman Michael Gilbert declined to comment. The Sabres were primarily involved with trying to bring the tournament to Buffalo.

"We're extremely pleased to be coming to Buffalo on Monday to join with the Sabres and Commissioner [Gary] Bettman on a significant announcement that will be pleasing to the Western New York community and hockey fans throughout the world," Fischer said.

Buffalo was one of three finalists in the United States looking to play host to the tournament. The other finalists were Minneapolis and Grand Forks, N.D.

The world junior championships is a 10-day tournament that features the best players in the world age 20 and younger. The tournament mostly would be held in HSBC Arena with games involving smaller countries likely held in Dwyer Arena at Niagara University.

USA Hockey officials toured the region last month and obviously liked what they saw. The Buffalo area has been a major supporter of youth hockey and has held national youth tournaments. However, this would be the first time for a tournament of this magnitude to be held in Buffalo.

e-mail: bgleason@buffnews.com

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