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Tampa Bay interested in hosting 2018 World Juniors

Jan 4, 2014, 12:58 PM EDT

TAMPA, Fl. - NOVEMBER 7: Fans walk past a statue of Phil Esposito as they enter the Tampa Bay Times Forum before the start of game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 7, 2013 in Tampa, Florida. Getty Images

Will the World Junior Championship be held in a nontraditional market in the near future? Tampa Sports Commission executive director Rob Higgins hopes so.

With the United States scheduled to host the 2018 World Juniors, Higgins would like Tampa Bay to be considered as a potential venue.

“We’ve started to lay the groundwork to learn more about the bid process,” Higgins told the Tampa Tribune. “I’ve had some initial correspondence with USA Hockey, and we are still a ways off from the official bid process, but it’s definitely an event we would like to learn more about.”

The Lightning’s Tampa Bay Times Forum would be a host arena if the bid is success, but they would need a second location. The ECHL Florida Everblades’ Germain Arena in Estero, Florida might fill that void.

Tampa Bay hosted the NCAA Frozen Four in 2012 and is slated to do so again in 2016. Higgins is hoping that will help convince USA Hockey that a World Junior Championship in the Florida city could work.

The bidding process won’t formally start until 2015 and we’ll have to wait until the fall of that year to find out who the winner is.

  1. bucrightoff - Jan 4, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Hosting the Frozen Four only requires 1 hockey arena. The WJHC needs 2. So is there another suitable venue in the area? Maybe joint bid with Orlando or Miami?

    • Ryan Dadoun - Jan 4, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      As far as the second arena goes, Germain Arena has been mentioned as a candidate. I updated the post to include that information.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Jan 5, 2014 at 12:38 AM

        why not have Tampa Bay Times Forum host as well as BB&T Center in Sunrise?

  2. joey4id - Jan 4, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    Wow! A world championship hockey tournament in the Sunshine State! Has the popularity of hockey grown that much?

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Jan 5, 2014 at 12:39 AM

      Going into tonight, Florida has averaged 18,304 fans the past 3 games….

  3. lightning69 - Jan 4, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    Hockey fans are definitely here in Tampa and the Frozen four has gotten good reviews. Another good showing might have helped but FF 2016 will probably be too late to make a difference.
    The forum is a top notch arena and the beaches are minutes away. What’s not to like?

    Cue the typical (and cold) NHL FL haters to be negative. Hockey is only cool when your toes and face are numb, right?

    I understand that the Germain is a good facility but it is approx 3hrs from Tampa.

    Lakeland Center is 40 min with similar capacity. 8k (original Lightning preseason games).

    Here is to hoping we can ride Bishop all the way into the post season this year. Slowing melting away the icy hatred some have for Tampa being successful in the NHL.

    Peace and Sunshine

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jan 4, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      No hatred at all towards Tampa from me, well except for stealing our cup in 2004…but I digress. I wouldn’t travel to see a hockey tournament like this normally, but I’d consider going to Tampa to see it because it offers a warm weather get away destination in addition to the tournament.

  4. atwatercrushesokoye - Jan 4, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    The World junior tournament seems to be an afterthought everywhere but Canada (and maybe a little in the Northern US) the crowds in Europe are usually fairly small, there’s a reason the IIHF gives the tournament to Canada frequently, and that the US tends to host it in cities that are very easy for Canadian fans to get to (Buffalo, Fargo) will enough Canadian fans flock to Tampa to make it the financial windfall that the IIHF has come to count on from Canadian and American hosting cities?

    This isn’t a knock on USA hockey or Tampa at all, it’s more a point of the IIHF wanting the North American cash cow to continue. I’m sure the players and fans who would make the journey would appreciate Tampa in December/January a lot more than Fargo.

    • joey4id - Jan 4, 2014 at 3:17 PM

      I’m in. No snow and hockey for 2 weeks…….. Why not? I hate winter. :-)

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 4, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      Lots of Canadians already spend their winters down there, visit relatives, etc. Habs and Leafs usually play Tampa or Florida or both in the week after Christmas as a result. Getting Canadian fans for this tourney would be easy.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Jan 5, 2014 at 12:45 AM

        It seems like 1 and every 10 license plates I see on 95 and the turnpike are either from Quebec or Ontario. Plenty of Canadians here this time of year.

  5. penguins87and71 - Jan 4, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    It would be great to see the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Frozen Four. I think it would be a good way to expand the game of hockey in a nontraditional hockey market, also I would definitely go see it if were in Florida I hate the cold and I would love to get out of it.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Jan 5, 2014 at 12:48 AM

      Tampa Bay just had the Frozen Four in 2012. They will host it again in 2016. BB&T Center is trying to land one as well, the next available one is in 2019.

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