STOCKHOLM – The host cities of the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Sweden are known. Ornskoldsvik and Umea were named as Sweden’s cities for the event that will take place one year after next spring’s U18 Worlds in Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk, Russia.
Both cities are located in the northern part of Sweden and are not far apart from each other as they can be reached within one hour by a new railway line or by car along the Baltic Sea. The proposed tournament dates are 18 to 28 April 2019. The teams, groups and schedule will be known next year.
The event will be hosted by the Swedish Ice Hockey Association in co-operation with its branches of the provinces of Angermanland and Vasterbotten, the host cities and the two local clubs MODO Ornskoldsvik and Bjorkloven Umea.
Ornskoldsvik is a classic hockey town in Sweden and even though MODO suffered relegation to the second-tier HockeyAllsvenskan in 2016, the club remains well-respected as a talent producer. Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, the Sedin twins Daniel and Henrik, Anders Hedberg and Victor Hedman are among the famous hockey players who came from the city of 29,000 inhabitants. The Fjallraven Center offers a capacity for 7,350 spectators.
Umea was already the secondary venue (with Skelleftea) when Sweden hosted the 2000 IIHF World Junior Championship in the north of the country. About 600 kilometres north of Stockholm and 400 kilometres away from the Arctic Circle, Umea is the biggest city in northern Sweden with almost 85,000 inhabitants within the city and over 120,000 in the municipality.
The local club Bjorkloven Umea had appearances in the top Swedish league but had tough years recently including bankruptcy. Since 2013 it is back in the second-tier HockeyAllsvenskan. The club plays in the 5,450-capacity T3 Center.
Sweden previously hosted the U18 Worlds once, in 2006 in Angelholm and Halmstad. Since the U18 category got its global event in 1999, Sweden has won five silver medals – most recently in 2016 – and three bronze medals.