Earlier today, we passed along word that Detroit was meeting with USA Hockey officials about potentially hosting the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships.
Now, another candidate has emerged. From Fox Sports Arizona:
Arizona Coyotes officials, including principal owner Andrew Barroway, president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc and general manager Don Maloney, met with USA Hockey leadership at the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus to express significant interest in hosting the World Junior Championship at Gila River Arena in 2018.
The team said it intends to take part in the bidding process.
The Coyotes throwing their hat in the ring makes sense, as the club has taken numerous steps to try and grow interest in the game both state-wide, and beyond just the NHL. Earlier, we wrote about talks of Arizona State — who have earned promotion to NCAA Div. 1 — playing some of its home games at Gila River Arena; the Coyotes also made the name change from Phoenix to Arizona in the hope of garnering more widespread appeal and support.
“Becoming the Arizona Coyotes makes sense for us since we play our games in Glendale and the city is such a great partner of ours,” Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc said. “We also want to be recognized as not just the hockey team for Glendale or Phoenix, but the team for the entire state of Arizona and the Southwest.
“We hope that the name ‘Arizona’ will encourage more fans from all over the state, not just the valley, to embrace and support our team.”
As for the ’18 World Juniors, there are an number of additional suitors aside from Arizona and Detroit: Buffalo, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh have all been reportedly expressed interest in hosting just the seventh American-based event in tournament history.
The previous six? Minneapolis (1982), Anchorage (1989), Boston (1996), Grand Forks (2005) and Buffalo (2011).
It’s believed USA Hockey will announce the name of the ’18 site by next fall.