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Buzzing The Net

2015, ’17 world junior championships in Montreal, Toronto confirmed

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Canada last hosted the WJC in 2012, winning the bronze medal in Calgary (Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press)

If you stop maintaining the world junior championship is a hockey tournament, it's easier to accept how big a cashcow it has become. On Thursday, Hockey Canada will roll out its ambitious plans for the next two tournaments that will be in this country in 2015 and '17, with Montreal and Toronto sharing the hosting. So that scenario of phenom Connor McDavid, during his NHL draft year, perhaps leading Team Canada during a WJC in his hometown is more in play, not that you can ever predict anything in the junior game.

The event felt more intimate when it was either held in one city with two sufficiently sized arenas, or when three games per day were held in the big rink with one shuffled off to the second venue. The Calgary/Edmonton effort in 2012 produced a $22-million profit, so that's where we are in this country.

Who knows how high the revenue target will be for the two tournaments that be held in the Bell Centre and Air Canada Centre, which are both newer buildings with a greater combined seating capacity than the NHL venues in Calgary and Edmonton. It's just the way it is; it doesn't matter that Montreal and Toronto are so gung-ho about junior hockey during the other 50 weeks of the year that a combined four CHL teams have pulled up stakes from those markets in the past decade — the Brampton Battalion (North Bay), Montreal Juniors (suburban Blainville-Boisbriand), Mississauga IceDogs (St. Catharines) and Montreal Rocket (Charlottetown, P.E.I.).

It's not as if the CHL should mind that the tournament long ago left places such as Halifax, Red Deer and Saskatoon. (Would smaller pro hockey markets such as Hamilton or Winnipeg even rate a shot now?) Or that 17- to 19-year-old juniors are held to NHL standards during the 10-day maelstrom by fans (and media) who have never seen them play a league game. Having the tournament in Montreal and Toronto means a bigger cut of the profits, eh. The same goes for other stakeholders. So be it.

(Malmö, Sweden hosts this season and Finland is on tap for '16).

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

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