The city of Buffalo is hosting the 2018 IIHF U20 World Championship, or the ‘World Juniors’ as everyone but the IIHF calls them, and things are going...well, things are being announced.
The marquee event for the preliminary round, Canada vs USA, is being held on a Friday night. Possibly to make it hard for Canadians to get to the game without taking off work? Last time the tournament was held in Buffalo in 2011 the city was flooded with Canadians spending their money and buying tickets and paying for parking and doing all kinds of generous things for Buffalo, and Buffalo just cried about it.
Okay so the schedule isn’t super, but what about the game itself? That should be good right?
Well....you see, the continuing greed of Hockey Canada and USA Hockey when it comes to this tournament is bleeding through again, and now the game is being held in Ralph Wilson Stadium (home of the NFLs Buffalo Bills and their three ring circus of tailgaters) to triple the take-home of ticket sales.
Getting to New Ralph Wilson’s Era Field of Stadiums was hard enough on New Years Day for the first Winter Classic, but on a week night?
You can’t even tailgate properly on a Friday.
An outdoor game is bad enough to count in the standings in an 82-game NHL season, but now in a short tournament? Bad ice conditions, wind, rain, snow, all in a short round-robin tournament? Just a super duper idea. How could they make this any worse?
Here's a look at the Bills-esque jersey the USA Hockey juniors will wear against Canada at New Era Field. pic.twitter.com/J6bc6o9MZN— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) June 14, 2017
They’re going to dress Team USA up like the Buffalo Bills.
Convenient that it’s the team owned by the Pegulas - the modern day Harrold Ballards. Why would you take USA Hockey, who have rarely had a bad jersey design, and the biggest non-NHL tournament on the hockey schedule in North America, and do this?
As a Canada fan, I love it though. Dress Team USA up like perennial losers, yes, excellent.
Speaking of greed, the cheapest package for the tournament is $690 US (nice) per ticket. That’s $911.61 CDN. Per seat. Now it was expensive in Toronto and Montreal as well, and no one let them off the hook, but this is getting ridiculous. $1,000 per seat for the juniors? Yikes.
Not surprising from the owners who charge money for rookie development camp.
We’re heading into the ceiling for how much people will pay for these tournaments. It happened during the Memorial Cup in Windsor, and David Branch said they’re reviewing ticketing for the 2019 WJC in Vancouver & Victoria. When short tournament tickets cost more than seasons seats, things are getting out of hand: the cheapest Sabres STH cost is $1,245.00, less than double the WJC, but way more than any junior hockey team charges.
We saw the empty seats in Toronto and Montreal.
We’ll see them in Buffalo.
Someday someone will change things, but for now, World Junior organizing committees: You’re the worst.