'It shows what the east coast can do': Moncton, Halifax excited for world juniors

There was still a buzz in the air the day after Moncton was announced as a co-host for the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championships.

On Thursday, Moncton and Halifax were officially selected as the winning bid for the holiday tournament.

Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold and Halifax Mayor Mike Savage met in front of Moncton's Avenir Centre Friday morning to congratulate one another.

"It's really huge for hockey fans. Everyone has a tradition of watching the world juniors between Christmas and New Year's and to think it’s taking place right here in our community is fantastic," says Arnold.

"It shows what the east coast can do. We love our hockey in Halifax, they love their hockey in Moncton, we love hockey all over Atlantic Canada, and certainly, for this week, we'll all come together and it will be a regional event," says Savage.

Moncton Chamber of Commerce CEO John Wishart said the world-class event is a huge victory for the city and the province.

"It might be the largest scale, highest profile event the city has ever hosted," said Wishart.

"We've had some great ones like the international track and field, FIFA women's soccer and world curling, but the world junior hockey championships, there's such a cache about that tournament and it’s a giant win for the region."

Wishart said the tournament is obviously huge for downtown bars, restaurants and hotels that took a big hit during the pandemic, but it's a big deal for hockey fans from here and outside the Maritimes too.

Former Moncton Wildcat Joey Richard can't wait to watch the games.

"I think it will be a cool atmosphere for sure to host such a big international event,” said Richard. “I think the fans from Moncton and Halifax will enjoy that. I think people coming from away to watch will enjoy the cities too."

Avenir Centre general manager Dave Saldanha said it's too early to tell which countries will be in the Moncton pool, but he did say Team Canada will definitely play games at the Avenir Centre.