WATCH: Well it’s the last stretch of world junior hockey mania in Victoria. The display of world-class hockey and the young guns of the future have kept hockey fans from the island, and all over the world happy for the holidays. Kori Sidaway has the on what the world juniors have been like here on the island.
Fans of all kinds streamed into the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria on Monday, for the last world junior games of 2018.
“Probably going to cheer for Khazakatstan, the underdog, but we’ll see how the game goes!” said fan Mel Denise.
Here in Victoria, all eyes are on Team Khazaktsan as they take on powerhouse Sweden.
“And we always go for the underdog, it’s the most Canadian thing isn’t it!” said Patty Chrighton.
After almost a decade away from the world juniors, Khazakstan battled back up the ranks. And in the meantime, grabbed the hearts of islanders.
“It’s more than just the underdog story,” said Tom Grainger, the world juniors DJ.
“They’ve got players on their team that can really play. Just seeing the heart out there, it’s really cool for the city to get behind all these guys.”
With no Team Canada to cheer for on Victoria soil, islanders have adopted the Khazaks as their own.
And this New Year’s Eve, as Khazakstan plays their last game here in Victoria, you can expect to see a lot of these blue jerseys out on the town.
That’s because there’s literally none on the shelves. Their merchandise have been sold out for days across Victoria.
Khazakstan will head to Vancouver next where they’ll fight for a spot in next years world juniors with the other team in last place the relegation round.
But while Vancouver Island will likely miss their newly adopted team, the games in Victoria will continue with the quarterfinals, and so will the parties.
“There are bars and lots of places to watch, but [The Cabin] is the place to get your vibe,” said Alia Villanueva, the 2019 World Junior Hockey events coordinator.
“We’re praying Canada is in [the quarter finals], but if not, it’s still a great place to come to watch all 10 federations fight it out.”
Tickets are set to go on sale for the quarterfinal games at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, or fans can catch the Jan. 2 games live on the big screen at The Cabin in Victoria’s Curling Club.