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JONES: Edmonton-Red Deer World Junior hockey sells out in 72 hours

Team Canada jerseys hang in the Edmonton Oilers' Hall of Fame room at Rogers Place during a press conference to announce that the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will be held in Edmonton and Red Deer, in Edmonton on Dec. 6, 2018.
Team Canada jerseys hang in the Edmonton Oilers' Hall of Fame room at Rogers Place during a press conference to announce that the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will be held in Edmonton and Red Deer, in Edmonton on Dec. 6, 2018.

Sold out! In 72 hours!

The 2021 IIHF World Junior has completed the process. And no tickets remain after a distribution of tickets to the winners of the lottery draw held during the final weekend of this year’s World Junior in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Every seat. Every game

Sixteen games in Edmonton.

Sixteen games in Red Deer.

In all, your correspondent learned Friday that a total of 110,000 entries were received for the lottery draw for tickets remaining after Edmonton Oilers and Oil Kings and Red Deer Rebels season ticket holders exercised their front-of-the-line privileges.

“The number of lottery entrants exceeded our expectations. We were expecting between 75,000 and 80,000,” said Kevin Radomski, venues director of the event.

The people at Hockey Canada headquarters here have spent the last two and a half weeks contacting winners. Each lottery ticket winner had an option of claiming two to four tickets for their choice of one of the two eight-game packages in Edmonton or the 16-game package in Red Deer.

The Edmonton packages divided up games for the 18,437 seats Rogers Place. In addition to Canada, the pool includes Finland, Switzerland, Slovakia and Germany.

Package A features Canada games including Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve, plus Canada’s quarter-final and semifinal round if they aren’t eliminated early.

Package B includes non-Canada quarter-final and semifinal games, but gets you the gold-medal game.

The package for the 6,535 available seats in the Red Deer Centrium includes two pre-tournament games involving Canada and two of the teams from Group B that ended up there, likely featuring this year’s gold-medal opponent Russia and undefeated round-robin team Sweden.

The central Alberta community also ended up with the United States and Austria in the pool. Also part of the Red Deer package will be the best-of-three relegation round games between the last place teams of each pool.

“Fans who did purchase tickets have a full knowledge of the area of their seat location. We’re just waiting now for the play schedule to be approved by the IIHF in terms of specific dates and times for specific games to complete the ticketing,” said Radomski.

Hockey Canada is now receiving applications for four to six venues to play host to pre-tournament games in Western Hockey League (Lethbridge and Medicine Hat) and Alberta Junior Hockey League (Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Brooks and Okotoks) locations. It’s possible a lottery would be held for those games as well.

Also yet to be determined is the location of Team Canada’s training camp with Jasper, Banff or possibly Red Deer, itself, being considered.

“The number of lottery entrants, to me, speaks to the passion of hockey fans in this area,” said Radomski. “Hockey Canada held a similar draw for tickets to the 2012 Calgary-Edmonton World Junior and it was also a great success and allowed passionate fans from near and far the fairest opportunity to purchase tickets to the event.”

The 2012 Calgary-Edmonton event established the previous records for the hosting of the World Junior.

“Holding the lottery draw protected the integrity of the distribution of tickets for fans not only in the area but from around the world,” said Radomski.

He said Edmonton playing host to a second Hlinka-Gretzky Cup Aug. 7-8 will also provide not only a whistle-wetter but an opportunity to train key volunteers and plan for logistics involving things such as dressing rooms for the event.

The first Hlinka-Gretzky, also split between Edmonton and Red Deer, featured many players who were in this year’s World Junior and are expected to return for 2021, including Canadians Alexis Lafrennier, Dylan Cozens and Bowen Byram.

Also expected to return from Canada’s gold medal winning team are Connor McMichael, Dawson Mercer, Quinton Byfield and Jamie Drysdale.

In Edmonton they’ll now get on with the planning of the Ice District festival. It’ll feature games on big screens, the entire area decorated with ice sculptures, hockey-playing snowmen and the like. There will be entertainment stages, hot chocolate for kids and activations galore, most of which haven’t even been thought of yet.

“To me, the Ice District was built for things like the World Junior,” said co-chair Terry O’Flynn. “We’re welcoming the world here and it’s going to create some wonderful opportunities to do some creative and memorable things with a real focus on families and the holiday season. It’ll be the showcase signature of this event.”

It’s guaranteed to be another in the long list of ballistic major event hosting successes in Edmonton.


On Twitter: @ByTerryJones

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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