Edmonton Economic Development Corporation

Edmonton Economic Development Corporation

December 01, 2011 17:09 ET

Edmonton Economic Development Corporation: Next Generation Hockey Stars Vie for Glory on Edmonton Ice at 2011/12 World Junior Championship

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Dec. 1, 2011) - With 10 nations vying for hockey glory, the World Junior Championship (WJC) is where junior players become stars. It's the season's biggest sporting event with five million viewers - and it's all set to hit Edmonton ice, December 26-31, 2011.

This is the first time Edmonton has hosted the world class tournament which in past has served as a starting point for the careers of legends such as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Ryan Smith. "It's an amazing platform for stars, both coaches and players," says Al Coates, World Junior Executive Director. "Seventy percent of all players in the National Hockey League have participated here. It's a tournament of the highest priority."

Fans can look forward to 31 games being played throughout the tournament, with Edmonton kicking things off and the latter half of the games played in Calgary from January 1-5. "Edmonton can feel proud. The whole world will be watching," says Tim Garbutt, Edmonton's WJC General Manager. "The big game in Edmonton is on New Year's Eve with Canada versus the U.S."

In addition to tournament action there are pre-competition exhibition games slotted before December 26. Canada will play Sweden on December 23 at Rexall Place, and tickets are still available. "Usually it's very tough to get tickets for a Canada game and very expensive," says Garbutt. "This game is an opportunity for people to see Canada. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Edmonton will in fact be home to all of the Canada games, and it's the first time the city has hosted the tournament. "We have four Canada games which will be very, very exciting!" notes Garbutt. "It's a great showcase for Edmonton."

There are plenty of opportunities to join in the action - with or without tickets - at the free World Juniors Fan Zone active at Northlands EXPO Centre from December 26 to 31. Families will love the range of interactive games including an Edmonton Oil Kings game, as well as a Hockey Hall of Fame display and other activities. Fans will also be interested to know the Stanley Cup will be proudly displayed and fans can get their pictures taken with it.

Also absolutely free and at the EXPO Centre is the Molson Hockey House. "This is a massive area where both ticket and non-ticket holders can go to watch the games," says Garbutt. "It's a great atmosphere." Hockey House visitors must be 18 years of age.

This year also happens to mark the 30th anniversary of Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence. Fans will enjoy watching new players in development as well as catching the program's alumni players involved in skills development workshops, autograph signing sessions, and exhibition game play.

Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) provides leadership in economic development, markets Edmonton as a must-see destination, manages the Shaw Conference Centre and Edmonton Research Park, and acts as a stakeholder in TEC Edmonton, a joint venture with the University of Alberta. For more information, visit www.edmonton.com Learn more about Edmonton through the stories of people who've experienced it at www.edmontonstories.ca

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