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Minnesota to Host 2026 World Junior Hockey Championships

United States forward Brady Tkachuk celebrates a goal during the second period in the bronze medal game of the 2018 world junior hockey championships against the Czech Republic in Buffalo, New York. The world junior event will return to the United States in 2026 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, will host the 2026 world junior hockey championships, the International Ice Hockey Federation and USA Hockey officially announced on Friday after multiple reports indicated as much on Wednesday.

The 50th anniversary of the tournament will have 10 international teams featuring some of the world’s best young players under 20 playing in a two-week tournament starting December 26 with the final on January 5. Games will be at the Xcel Energy Center, home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, and 3M Arena at Mariucci, home of the University of Minnesota’s men’s hockey team.

“It’s really an honor to be selected,” said Wendy Blackshaw, president and chief executive officer of Minnesota Sports and Events. “We’re excited about welcoming the world to the Twin Cities and to showcase the players in the event, many who will go on to star in the NHL. Our goal is very simple and that’s to stage the best World Juniors ever held in the United States.”

The announcement was made before this year’s final in Sweden with the United States preparing to face Sweden in the gold medal game. Team USA has medaled in six of the past eight championships, the best stretch in the nation’s history. The U.S. has medaled twice on home soil, earning bronze in 2011 and 2018.

“We’re excited to bring this 50th anniversary edition of the World Juniors to the state of hockey,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “We know the teams and fans are in for a first-class experience at world-class venues. I’d also like to publicly thank the other finalists for the significant time they spent in putting together proposals. In the end, it was an extremely difficult decision.”

It will be the second time the Twin Cities region hosts the world juniors, having done so in 1982. The United States has hosted the championship six times before overall, most recently by Buffalo, New York, in 2017. Buffalo also hosted in 2011 with Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Thief River Falls, Minnesota, co-hosting in 2005 and Boston hosting in 1996 and Anchorage, Alaska, in 1989.

“We don’t have the chance to host this tournament often and we are thrilled to partner with our friends in Minnesota to stage what we know will be a fantastic World Junior Hockey Championship,” said Mike Trimboli, president of USA Hockey. “The tournament has become such a staple of the holiday season and something fans look forward to with great anticipation every year.”

The 2025 tournament is scheduled for Ottawa.

The United States was expected to host in 2026 and reports this week indicated that Seattle, Tampa and Las Vegas also bid to host the event with Minnesota winning over Seattle. The IIHF and USA Hockey looked for a host which must secure a maximum of two competition venues with special consideration given to venues that have two sheets of ice within the building.

“We’re grateful to USA Hockey and the organizers from Minnesota,” said Luc Tardif, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation. “Minnesota is rich with hockey history and it will be a most appropriate setting to host the 50th anniversary of this great championship.”

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