St. Louis named finalist for 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship

USA Hockey has chosen its three finalists for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships, and St. Louis is among the cities still in contention. The other two are Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

Chicago and Tampa were eliminated from the field.

Officials from USA Hockey will visit each of the three finalist cities over the next month and a final decision on the host for the event is expected by the end of the year. If St. Louis is selected, Scottrade Center and Family Arena would host the events, which will feature 10 nations and many future NHL stars under the age of 20. The event is held in late December/early January.

"The Blues and Scottrade Center, and our partners at the St. Louis Sports Commission, recognized this event would have a scope and the ability to touch our city and region at a level we really haven’t done since the 1904 Olympics," said Chris Zimmerman, the St. Louis Blues’ president and CEO. "St. Louis has demonstrated its love for sports on so many levels. If you look back to the 2007 Frozen Four, St. Louis had the highest attendance of any arena-based Frozen Four in the history of the event. St. Louis is a great city that really rises to the occasion for these great amateur events."

Led by the Blues and the St. Louis Sports Commission, the city has emerged as a hub for youth, amateur and professional hockey. The local committee working to bring the tournament to St. Louis includes Zimmerman, former Blue and Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull, former Blue and United States Hockey Hall of Famer Keith Tkachuk and Total Hockey founder Michael Benoit.

Ten St. Louis natives have played or are currently playing in the National Hockey League, including the Blues’ Paul Stastny and Chris Butler. Two more St. Louisans are represented on the U.S. Men’s Paralympic Team (Steve Cash and Billy Hanning), and it was St. Louis’ Jincy Dunne who scored two goals, including the game-winner, to claim a gold medal for the United States at the 2015 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championships. In addition, St. Louis has hosted many marquee hockey events over the last decade, including the 2007 NCAA Frozen Four, the 2011 NCAA Regional Finals and the upcoming 2017 Women’s Frozen Four.