President Tardif meets the press
by Andrew Podnieks|05 JAN 2024
photo: Chris Tanouye/IIHF
IIHF president Luc Tardif held his annual medal-day World Junior Championship press conference this afternoon at the Scandinavium in Gothenburg to discuss the tournament itself and the bigger international hockey picture.

“I always think of this tournament as a Christmas gift for hockey fans,” he began. “It’s a wonderful time of year for everyone who plays and watches the game. We get to see who will be the next stars of the game. And every time we come to Sweden, it’s a success. People here have a great passion for the game. And we’ll be back in 2025 for the World Championship as well.”

Tardif also confirmed that Hockey Canada’s agreement with the IIHF for the World Juniors runs until 2034, meaning every two years the tournament will be held in Canada. In other words,  2025 will be in Canada (Ottawa), 2026 in the United States, and 2027 back in Canada.

When the question turned to the Olympics, Tardif was able to share some news. “You can see I’m smiling,” he began. “For the first time we are now meeting with all interested parties—the NHL, the NHLPA, the IIHF, the IOC. And I think all the planets are aligned. I will meet with IOC president Thomas Bach in mid-January. I believe we’ll have an announcement before the end of February. And since we are hopeful for the next Olympics, we will try to arrange a commitment for the next two Olympics. There is a common goal to participate.”

Lastly, Tardif continued to emphasize that any inclusion of Russia and Belarus in IIHF competition is contingent entirely on the safety of the athletes and organizers and the IIHF’s ability to run a safe tournament. 

Anders Larsson, head of the Swedish Federation, noted that attendance this year is likely to surpass Malmo 2014 (approximately 144,000) to make it the most well-attended World Juniors ever hosted in Sweden.

After the press conference, USA Hockey delegates took the stage and announced that the 2026 World Juniors would take place in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota the 50th edition of the tournament.