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City in North Dakota gets 2016 U18 Worlds
The 10-team event, which features the top players in the world under the age of 18, will be staged in April 2016, with final dates to be announced in the near future.
Ralph Engelstad Arena, on the University of North Dakota campus, will be the main venue for the championship, with Purpur Arena, a municipal facility in the city, serving as the secondary venue.
“We're thrilled to be bringing another world championship to Grand Forks," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "Jody Hodgson and his group at Ralph Engelstad Arena put together an outstanding plan and with the support of the city and state and the great hockey fans of the Red River Valley, we look forward to an exceptional event."
The IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship was first staged in 1999 and has been held in the United States on one other occasion, that in 2009 in Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota. The United States has won five of the last six gold medals in the event, including last season.
Among prominent U.S. players that have competed in the event are Patrick Kane, the No. 1 choice in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and a member of the Chicago Blackhawks; Zach Parise, a first round choice in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and a member of the Minnesota Wild; Ryan Suter, the No. 7 pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and a member of the Minnesota Wild; Erik Johnson, the first overall choice in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and a member of the Colorado Avalanche; James van Riemsdyk, the No. 2 pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs; Phil Kessel, the No. 5 choice in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs; Seth Jones, chosen fifth overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and a member of the Nashville Predators; and Jacob Trouba, the No. 9 pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and a member of the Winnipeg Jets.
“When Ralph Engelstad built the arena, his vision was to be able to attract world-class events like this to Grand Forks,” said Jody Hodgson, general manager of Ralph Engelstad Arena. “We take great pride in the confidence USA Hockey has shown in us and are excited to welcome athletes and fans from across the world. It's not easy to get an event like this and I think it says a lot about our community and region to have been selected."
Opened in 2001, Ralph Engelstad Arena includes a playing surface of 200’ x 85’ with a seating capacity of 11,643. The $104 million arena, which just finished a $3 million renovation this past summer, has been called one of the finest facilities of its kind in the world. It served as host of the 2005 IIHF World Junior Championship, an event that attracted more than 195,000 fans.
Purpur Arena, located just more than two miles from Ralph Engelstad Arena, was built in 1963 and has a capacity of 3,300.
"Fans will see the future stars of the NHL playing in this championship," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director for hockey operations at USA Hockey. "It's the last big event for NHL scouts to see the players that their teams will be selecting in the NHL Entry Draft just about two months later."
Full details surrounding the championship, including ticket information, will be released in the months ahead.
The 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship will be held 16-26 April in Zug and Lucerne, Switzerland. Participating teams include the United States, Sweden, Russia, Slovakia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Canada, Finland, Switzerland and Latvia.
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