WORLD JUNIOR TICKETS IN DEMAND ON COAST
VANCOUVER — A change of scenery seems like it might pay off for an annual holiday tradition.
Ticket demand for the 2019 world junior hockey championship — Dec. 26, 2018, to Jan. 5, 2019, in Vancouver and Victoria — has “exceeded expectations,” said Riley Wiwchar, director of the tournament.
The attendance will be watched closely at this year’s event after disappointing turnouts — and complaints about ticket prices — three of the past four years in Buffalo, N.Y., and Toronto/Montreal.
“The demand is definitely there and we’ve still got a few months to go. So we plan on the (arenas) being full,” Wiwchar said.
Tickets have been purchased from around the globe, including France, Germany, Russia, Finland, Sweden, the U.S. and every Canadian province, he added.
Attendance at last year’s tournament in Buffalo — just across the Peace Bridge from Canada — was dismal, with thousands of empty seats for many games.
Fewer than 10,000 people came out for Canada’s games in the preliminary rounds and just 5,533 showed up for the team’s quarterfinal win over Switzerland.
The exception was the first-ever outdoor world junior game, which drew a recordsetting crowd of 44,592 to see the U.S. beat Canada 4-3 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y. — the home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.
Manitoba Moose right-winger JC Lipon fires a puck during practice at Bell MTS Place on Friday morning.