OTTAWA - Canada is taking on the biggest all-time world records with its astounding hosting of the IIHF World U20 Championship.
Organizers announced this afternoon that the 2009 event in Ottawa will draw a record attendance of 453,282, obliterating the previous mark of 325,138 set by the city of Vancouver in 2006.
Incredibly, this mark has been established despite a tournament schedule of only 31 games, which figures out to an average of 14,622 fans per game. Organizers believe this mark was possible because--in a rare instance--all games of an IIHF tournament were played in the same city.
More astoundingly yet, this mark is the fourth-largest mark for any event in IIHF history. The 2004 senior IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic attracted 552,097 fans, but this was over 56 games, an average of 9,859. The 1997 IIHF World Championship in Finland drew 504,905, and the 2003 IIHF World Championship, also in Finland, drew 454,693.
The gold-medal game will attract a crowd of 20,380. This is not only a record for the U20, but it is also the largest attendance in the history of IIHF competition for an indoor game. Indeed, the only three games to draw more fans for a single game all took place in a soccer stadium in Moscow during the 1957 IIHF World Championship.
This record can be attributed not only to the incredible success of the U20 tournament but also to the size of Scotiabank Place, an NHL arena. Typically, the largest European arenas hold about 16,000 to 18,000 fans.