Back in January, Tampa Sports Commission executive director Rob Higgins said his group “started to lay the groundwork” for a bid to host the 2018 World Juniors, but noted it was “still a ways off from the official bid process.”
On Thursday, that changed.
Per the Times, Tampa Bay has officially submitted its bid to USA Hockey to host the tournament. It’s believed Amalie Arena — home of the Lightning — would be a host arena if the bid is success, and the ECHL Florida Everblades’ Germain Arena in Estero, Florida has been floated as a potential second location.
If the bid is successful, it would continue in Tampa Bay’s growth as a hockey market. The city hosted the NCAA Frozen Four in 2012 and will do so again in 2016; this year, the Bolts made it to the second Stanley Cup Final in franchise history, with nearly 17,000 people showing up to Amalie for a Game 6 watch party (the Lightning went on to lose Game 6, which saw Chicago win the Cup on home ice for the first time in 77 years.)