BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER: Mike Morrison, Geoff Finn and Jean Campbell head into the Team USA vs. Slovakia IIHF World Junior Championship Game at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria on Boxing Day. Finn, originally from New Brunswick, met Morrison and Campbell at a pub before the game. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

World Junior Championship bringing people together in Victoria

Hockey fans gathered for Team USA vs. Slovakia on Boxing Day

Every Boxing Day hockey fans rejoice as the IIHF World Junior Championship kicks off and this year, the excitement has come right to Victoria.

Thousands gathered at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre Wednesday afternoon to watch team USA face off against Slovakia.

The streets surrounding the centre were packed with vehicles as parking lots in the area filled up quickly.

Many last-minute ticket buyers lined up at the arena to make sure they had a chance to catch the action.

Kayla Aspelund and Nathaniel Cook were gifted tickets to the game and Aspelund said she was excited to be able to see it.

“I remember, as long as I can remember, watching the World Juniors on Boxing Day,” Aspelund said. “Now that it’s here it’s really cool that we get to actually go.”

Cook, originally from Wales, recently became a Canadian citizen and while he doesn’t love hockey as much as Aspelund, he said he’s learning about it.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Team USA defeats Czech Republic at B.C. exhibition game

READ MORE: Canada dominates Slovakia in world junior warm up in Victoria

The championship has also had a hand in forming new friendships in Victoria.

Jean Campbell and Mike Morrison are both Victoria residents who ran into a man named Geoff Finn at a pub before the game.

Finn is from New Brunswick and was in Victoria to visit family and go to the game. The three of them posed for photos in Team Canada and Slovakia jerseys in front of the centre before the game began.

“It’s awesome that Victoria is getting to be showcased on a world scene,” Campbell said. “It’s an amazing place to be and we’re so excited to welcome the world here.”

The last time B.C. hosted the World Junior Championship was in 2006 in Vancouver when Canada won gold.

This year, games will be taking place in both Vancouver and Victoria.

Organizers have said they expect full arenas for the games in Vancouver and Victoria with ticket demands exceeding expectations.

The IIHF World Junior Championship will run until Jan. 5, 2019.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich high school student wins free educational trip through Europe

Beaverbrook Vimy Prize centers on First, Second World War history

Province recognizes three Greater Victoria residents for work to combat racism

The three residents were recognized during the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards

Tour de Rock alum is newest Oak Bay Police officer

Const. Derek Brand did nine years as volunteer reserve officer

Serious crash closes Six Mile Road on Sunday afternoon

Road closed between Atkins Ave and Old Island Highway

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Most Read