The world junior hockey championship is estimated to bring in tens of millions of dollars to the local economy.

The 31-game tournament will be split between Victoria and Vancouver and is reputed to feature some of the best hockey players in the world.

“These are some of the players that you will eventually see in NHL,” said hockey historian John Bate. “And not in five or ten years, maybe next year or the year after.”

The games are expected to draw thousands.

The City of Victoria has put $50,000 towards the event, while Destination Greater Victoria has fronted $150,000.

Officials say the benefits far outweigh the cost.

“It’s a huge economic benefit. And then you think on a qualitative basis, the excitement that it brings to the community, and really pulling citizens to cheer together for our home team, you can’t really put a price tag on that,” said Thomas Soulliere, director of parks, recreation and facilities at the City of Victoria.

B.C. previously hosted the world juniors back in 2006.

That tournament was reported to bring in more than $40 million in economic activity.

This time, with the American team playing in Victoria, experts say it could lead to an added bonus for tourism.

“One of the big benefits of having the U.S.A. team here especially is the exposure to the American market, and that’s a huge market for us, that’s our prime tourist market,” said Catherine Holt, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. “And to get people to come to Victoria this time of year to watch games from that market is a very good opportunity for us.”

 

Calvin To