By Carla Allen
Yarmouth has been invited by Hockey Canada to host next year’s World Junior A Challenge. The 2012 challenge was held in Yarmouth last month. It was the first time for the event in Nova Scotia.
An official announcement about the 2013 location is expected in January, says Mitch Bonnar, president of the Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners and a member of the bid committee.
Partners must be secured and a few challenges must be conquered first, he told Municipality of Yarmouth councillors at their Dec. 12 meeting. He also noted that it is unusual for a community to host successive tournaments.
“They usually do one in the East and one in the West,” said Bonnar.
The event brought at least 1,000 players, coaches, scouts and hockey officials and dignitaries to the area and most of the games were sellouts. Family members of the players also came to Yarmouth. Close to 150 people stepped forward to volunteer.
“There were a lot of challenges but we got through it and I think the town and municipality are a whole lot better for it,” said Bonnar.
He added that at the conclusion of the week the volunteers said they would assist again should the event return. On top of this, Hockey Canada officials could not sing Yarmouth’s praises loud enough for the job that had been done.
The bid for the 2012 event was submitted as a joint effort involving the Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners in partnership with the three local municipal units, the Maritime Hockey League, Hockey Nova Scotia and Events Nova Scotia. In addition to the tournament games held in Yarmouth, Exhibition games were held in Barrington, Digby and Liverpool. Yarmouth and Digby also hosted prospects games.
The 2013 World Junior A Challenge will be comprised of six teams: Canada East, Canada West and four international teams. The 2012 challenge saw teams from USA, Switzerland, Russia and the Czech Republic competing.
The 2013 event is scheduled for Nov. 4-10, with a tournament format that will include a round robin, followed by two semifinal games and two medal games for a total of 13 games, similar to this year’s event.
Bonnar and Wayne Hamilton, who was part of the 2012 host committee, say with the foundation already laid from the 2012 challenge, this will be a good opportunity to make the event even better than before.
“The games’ success is not just about hockey. It’s how the community interacts with it, how people work within the system, the number of fans that show up,” said Bonnar.“We embraced it and they noticed that.”
The Municipality of Yarmouth approved up to $30,000 in funding towards hosting the 2013 event in Yarmouth.