Share this article

print logo

Sabres, USA Hockey hope USA-Canada can take it outdoors during 2018 World Juniors; reports of Winter Classic 'premature'

Officials from the Sabres and USA Hockey made their formal announcement Friday that the 2018 World Junior Championships are coming to Buffalo and confirmed their new twist that was first reported on Thursday -- the tournament will include an outdoor game in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Details about that game, however, remain sketchy. Here's what was revealed during a news conference on the field at the Ralph:

---The tournament runs from Dec. 26, 2017-Jan. 5, 2018 and there will be one outdoor game in the pool play portion of the tournament involving Team USA. It will be played on either Dec. 27 or 29, 2017.  Officials want the opponent to be Team Canada but that can't be guaranteed because pools for the '18 event are based on '17 results.

USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean did, however, say there is precedent for the host nation to request the movement of one team in the pools. Ogrean said there has already been discussions about this with Hockey Canada and the International Ice Hockey Federation to facilitate such a game.

"We think we're going to end up in that place," Ogrean said. "But it's just not possible to flat-out guarantee it to you today. ...  We think the US-Canada is the best in the game and that's obviously what we're designing this for."

---Buffalo is the first US city to host the tournament twice, beating out bids from Pittsburgh and St. Louis for the 2018 event -- and beating the perception from some cities it would not be fair to return the event here for the second consecutive US host cycle.

"I am very grateful for USA Hockey for giving us the right to host the tournament," said Sabres owner Terry Pegula. "I know you guys probably took a lot of grief over picking us two times in a row and we're going to make you proud. "

"We will deliver a world-class event," added Sabres/Bills president Russ Brandon. ".... This event will be the definition of 'One Buffalo'. "

---The focus of the Sabres has been solely on the World Juniors. Pegula pointedly called reports the team has applied with the NHL for the 2018 Winter Classic as "premature". That game, on Jan. 1, 2018, would mark the 10-year anniversary of the first Classic between the Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins.,

"This was our focal point, the World Juniors," said Brandon. "And we have to make an educated decision on how we want to move forward with the National Hockey League and see if it's even feasible."

"Right now, the logistics behind putting those two games together is a total unknown," Pegula said. "Why would you ask for something if you don't know if you can do it? We've got another league involved in this decision too. It's very complex."

---There was no information on tickets. Officials said packages will be sold first and then individual sales will be studied.

There are no comments - be the first to comment