Moncton and Halifax to host 2023 World Junior Hockey Championship

It's official. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have been selected to host the 2023 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship.

The international tournament will take place at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax and Avenir Centre in Moncton from Dec. 26, 2022 to Jan. 5, 2023.

“We are ready to roll out the welcome mat for the teams, their families and visiting fans, and I’ll be in the arena with thousands of Nova Scotians, cheering at each and every game," said Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston in a news release.

“This world event will showcase our province and our region, and we will provide an unforgettable experience for both New Brunswickers and those visiting," said New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs in a news release.

TSN's Darren Dreger tweeted Thursday morning that an announcement confirming Halifax and Moncton as the host cities was expected later in the day.

Expect n official announcement early this afternoon confirming Halifax/Moncton have been awarded the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championship.

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 5, 2022


CTV News first reported the joint bid from the Maritime region's two largest cities back in March. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick put a combined $5 million into the bid.

Scott Smith, the president and CEO Hockey Canada, says the region won the bid because it's ready ahead of other cities.

"What was proposed in the submission met the ability and the viability to be able to assess the execution of that," he said.

There is still no information as to how the games will be split up between the Scotiabank and Avenir centres.

"Halifax is a hockey town and so is Moncton,” said Halifax Mayor Mike Savage. “Hosting the World Juniors will help our region rebound from the pandemic, celebrate our passion for the game and inspire the next generation of hockey players in our region."

“Coming out of a challenging two years, our region, hockey fans and players are ready to rally together to host the world and once again celebrate Atlantic Canada on the international stage," said Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold.

The 2023 tournament was initially scheduled to be held in Russia, but the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) removed the country's hosting rights following the invasion of Ukraine.

Halifax and Sydney previously co-hosted the World Junior Hockey Championships in 2003.

Fred MacGillivray, chair of the 2003 World Junior Hockey Championship, said the relationship between Halifax and Hockey Canada was a deciding factor to bringing the tournament back to the Maritimes.

"They looked back upon the tremendous success of Halifax with three world championships," he said. "They know clearly that they have the ability to host."

MacGillivray says the location of the Scotiabank Centre in downtown Halifax -- close to hotels and restaurants -- is a major advantage.

"Moncton, of course, has done a lot as well. It's a good combination with these two cities."

Craig Eagles, a junior hockey analyst in Moncton, says the four-year-old Avenir Centre, combined with the city's recent track record of hosting major events, also worked in Moncton's favour.

"The Memorial Cup in 2005-2006 was an amazing event," said Eagles. "Moncton really supported that event. With the World Juniors coming here to the Hub City, the outpouring of support for this hockey community and city, it's going to be incredible."