On Wednesday, Pegula Sports and Entertainment, the Buffalo Sabres, Visit Buffalo Niagara and the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission came together to discuss preparations that are underway to ensure that Buffalo properly represents during the highly anticipated 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. The organizations met as part of an informational session, with the intention of coordinating a plan to help prepare local attractions, hotels, restaurants and breweries, by setting expectations for the tournament, which will run from December 26 to January 5 (see full schedule).
According to Visit Buffalo Niagara, Buffalo can expect to generate $7 million, which is a conservative number. It is anticipated that visitors will book 7,300 hotel room nights, with visitors coming from all over the world to see teams from Canada, Finland, Denmark, Slovakia, Belarus, Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and the United States.
The last time that the World Juniors was hosted in Buffalo was seven years ago. The city has seen a lot positive changes since that time. It’s time for Downtown Buffalo to shine, with new hotels, restaurants, and other crucial amenities (such as ridesharing) that have been rolled out in recent years.
“It’s remarkable to see how much our destination has transformed since the last World Juniors came here seven years ago,” Visit Buffalo Niagara and Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission President and CEO Patrick Kaler said. “We’re excited to provide these visitors with a first-rate experience in our resurgent destination and create a new group of Buffalo ambassadors around the world.”
Following are the key takeaways from the informational session:
- The schedule, ticketing information, sponsorship opportunities and timeline of the coming tournament, which will stretch for 11 days. More on the tournament, including the outdoor game to be played at New Era Field, can be found at www.buffaloworldjuniors.com.
- VBN’s dozens of volunteers will staff over 500 volunteer hours outside KeyBank Center and at the host hotels, armed with relevant maps, the official WJC fan guide printed by the Buffalo News and other pertinent information to make sure visitors have what they need. Anyone still interested in volunteering for the event can go to www.visitbuffaloniagara.com/volunteer.
- The Visit Buffalo Niagara/ Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission Tweet team will assist Pegula Sports and Entertainment with social media engagement, promoting #WJCinBUF to visitors and the hospitality community to maximize communication during the game.
- A plan for ground transportation, including a ridesharing pickup area at the corner of Washington and Scott Streets, and the coordination of the NFTA’s light rail with the games.