Ottawa to host '09 World Juniors

In a move that's been long overdue, the city of Ottawa has been granted the hosting duties for the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship, according to a story in today's Ottawa Sun.

Not to toot the horn of my city, but is there a better junior hockey market in Canada than Ottawa? Despite the massive attendance of the Sens, the Ottawa 67's still draw the biggest crowds in the OHL, and the Olympiques across the river do pretty well. This isn't to take anything away from the smaller successful markets like Kelowna, Red Deer, Sault Ste. Marie, London, or Spokane, or even Calgary, who draw great crowds for both the Flames and the Hitman. I have an obvious bias, but I truly believe Ottawa is the best of them all.

Ottawa has lost out in the past because of money. Even though Ottawa had the most deposits from fans (over 14,000 at $25 a pop), Vancouver threw more money at Hockey Canada, got it, and by all accounts, did a terrific job.

In the past, some fans in the smaller markets complained that a city like Vancouver or Ottawa shouldn't get the tourney because they're not true "junior cities". This is true in that the only game in town isn't the CHL team, but how can you say a city that routinely sets attendance records isn't a junior hockey city?

The tournament will run from December 26th to January 5th, and I'll be there.