In December 2022, the 47th IIHF World Junior Championship will take its start in Russia. The world’s largest country's inhabitants are already looking forward to this event – including its greatest goaltender in history, Russian Ice Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretiak:
“On behalf of our country I would like to say a big thanks to International Ice Hockey Federation that has entrusted this great event to us. We also owe IIHF a debt of gratitude for accepting our offer to host the World Junior Championship games in Novosibirsk as well as in Omsk. This decision is a valuable gift for the residents of both Siberian cities. One tournament – but two festivals at the same time. In December 2022 thousands of spectators from all Russian cities and many foreign countries will visit Novosibirsk and Omsk. All of them, as well as Siberians, will have an opportunity to watch one of the most spectacular hockey events live. The best young players of the world will be starring at the World Junior Championship. Russia is getting ready to host tournament, we move forward successfully. I work in close contact with local authorities. The preparation for the IIHF World Junior Championship is fully supported at all levels,” said Tretiak.
Any Russian high-ranked hockey official – including Tretiak – could say that hosting junior tournaments in the eastern part of the country is a nice “trademark” of Russian hockey. Three years ago, the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship took place in the Russian South Ural region – in Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk, cities that used to be industrial and hockey capitals of that region.
Not far away – in Ufa – the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship was held. Many players who later became world-famous stars were participants of that tournament. MacKinnon, Huberdeau and Scheifele starring in Canadian roster, Gibson, Jones and Gaudreau playing for Team USA, Forsberg from Sweden, Barkov from Finland, Draisaitl from Germany. The Russian team united future winners of the 2018 Olympics, Grigorenko and Nesterov, one of the best goaltenders in today’s hockey, Vasilevski, and one of the strongest centremen outside the NHL, Shalunov. But the strong Russian team did not win gold on home ice – in the semi-finals against Sweden it lost in a shootout and eventually became third after winning the bronze medal game in overtime.
“Everyone who visited the World Junior Championship was quite impressed. Hospitality is an important part of the Russian national character. We always provide very good conditions for teams, officials and spectators. And we will do the same at 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship. Russia has extensive experience in hosting big tournaments and we will do our best to help our guest to enjoy the event. They will enjoy hockey itself as well as hockey festival around,” Tretiak said.
Another impressive trademark of Russian hockey is a tradition of сonstructing new arenas while preparing to host big events. The magnificent Olympic cluster in Sochi is famous all over the world. The 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship took place in a new Moscow arena specially built for the tournament.
The 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship will not be an exception. In autumn 2022 both home cities – Novosibirsk and Omsk – will open new modern arenas with a capacity of more than 10,000 spectators for each. There is no doubt that both opening days will happen just in time – the construction is supervised by the Organizing Committee of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation. Russia is as usual preparing conscientiously and enthusiastically.
During several decades Novosibirsk and Omsk have been competing for the unofficial title of the «Siberian hockey capital». Professional hockey has been cultivated in both cities for more than 60 years. Both cities are represented in the Kontinental Hockey League. Novosibirsk is hometown for NHL star Vladimir Tarasenko. Players from Omsk are regularly invited in national teams in the senior, U20 and U18 categories, several top players have won the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and been part of Russian national teams. And of course we all remember the famous “business trip” of Jaromir Jagr – the legendary Czech forward spent four season with Avangard Omsk.
Finally, the World Junior Championship logo has already been designed and presented. This logo has the same colours as the Russian national flag – white, blue and red. The important part of design is a handsome bear holding a hockey stick. It is a deep symbol – Siberia is well known for its long winters and the luxurious nature cannot be separated neither from bears nor from ice hockey.
Welcome to the great Siberian hockey festival!