Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

World Junior Championship Attracts Small Crowds On The First Day

12/27/2017 at 8:40am EST

from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,

If nothing else, this edition of the world juniors might indicate how far you can dig before the well runs dry. Having tried in Toronto and an especially lukewarm Montreal twice in the past three years, the IIHF jammed the tournament back in Buffalo only six years after the Russians scored five third-period goals to come back from a 3-0 deficit to beat Canada in the final, and got so drunk they weren’t allowed on their plane home the next day. Between the hostile Canadian-dominated crowd and a host nation whose legal drinking age is 21, those Russians really did deliver one of this under-20 tournament’s defining achievements.

Seven years later, the Russians lost to the Czech Republic to start the day, and then Canada’s 4-2 win over Finland came in front of a lot of empty seats. When they played Russia here on Boxing Day in 2011, the place was full of some 20,000 brash, singing Canadian fans. This time, they announced the crowd at 9,552.

Maybe it’s cost; maybe it’s fatigue; and maybe a small part is that this Canadian team isn’t billed as an all-timer, or even a now-timer.


The crowd for the USA/Denmark game looked smaller than the Canada game.

added 8:50am, Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

Tuesday was not an auspicious start.

There might have been 2,000 folks in the KeyBank Center stands to see the Czech Republic's upset of Russia in the opener. Canada got better as its 4-2 victory over Finland went along in a game played in front of maybe 8,000 fans. Team USA battered Denmark in front of a pathetic house of maybe 5,000 -- and officials closed the 300 level and offered fans comp seats down below. Which had to make folks who paid for that level super-duper happy about the extra money they shelled out.

Organizers have to be choking on their hot chocolate after the intimate gatherings that entered the building. The Canada-Russia game played here on Dec. 26, 2010 drew a sellout crowd of 18,690. The US-Finland game that day drew 14,093. So what the heck happened Tuesday?

I hate to be I-told-you-so guy. But I told you so.

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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