When the IIHF Ice Hockey World Junior Championships kick off in Victoria and Vancouver next month, Port Alberni will be playing host to some of the action.
Port Alberni city councillor Ron Paulson, who is also the president of the Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society, announced during a council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13 that the City of Port Alberni will be hosting the Kazakhstan National Team next month.
In addition, Team Kazakhstan will take on Port Alberni’s Junior ‘A’ hockey team the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in an exhibition game on Wednesday, Dec. 19. Port Alberni will also host a game between Kazakhstan and Switzerland in World Juniors exhibition action on Friday, Dec. 21.
“We are honoured and excited to be taking part in this amazing event,” said Tali Campbell, director of business operations for the Bulldogs. “This event will be something very special for our fans, players and community.”
Kazakhstan is back in the Top Division at the IIHF World Junior Championship for the first time since the 2009 tournament in Ottawa; its best finish ever was sixth at the 1999 World Juniors in Winnipeg.
“We are beyond thrilled to welcome the best junior players in the world to our province in December,” said Barry Petrachenko, CEO of B.C. Hockey and co-chair of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship in a press release. “We know from experience what hosting this event can mean for hockey in our region and we are confident this tournament will leave a lasting impact on the growth and development of the game here in British Columbia and specifically in Port Alberni.”
The Kazakhstan National Team will arrive in Port Alberni on Dec. 18 and will use the Alberni Valley Multiplex for training and practice purposes until they depart on Dec. 24.
“I’m really excited about this,” said Paulson on Tuesday. “They’re here to play hockey, but I would love for them to leave with a good experience from Vancouver Island and our community.”
Tickets for these games are available on the Alberni Valley Bulldogs website at tickets.albernivalleybulldogs.ca. You can also purchase them at the Weyerhaeuser Arena box office.