USA Hockey will reportedly announce Buffalo as the host city for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships Friday afternoon at a press conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium's 18-yard line.
Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, president Russ Brandon will be on hand alongside USA Hockey president Jim Smith, executive director Dave Ogrean and assistant executive director Mike Bertsch for the announcement, which will be aired live on NHL Network and streamed on NHL.com and USAHockey.com.
This would be the second time Buffalo has hosted the World Juniors after staging the 2011 edition at the First Niagara Center and Niagara University's Dwyer Arena. You would expect the HARBORCenter to host a lion's share of the games this time around. Buffalo beat out bids from St. Louis and Pittsburgh for the right to host the tournament.
The odd aspect of the announcement is its location. According to the Bobfather, the goal is for the United States and Canada to play an outdoor game at the Ralph, perhaps on New Year's Eve. The schedule for pool play, and the pools themselves, would have to accommodate that wish, though, as I doubt an elimination game would be risked to the elements.
Which is to say there will be outdoor game, expected to be CAN-USA but schedule/divsions etc., of course, not set yet. But that's the plan.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 3, 2015
Another intriguing possibility is for the Sabres to get in on the outdoor game action. By 2018, it will have been 10 years since the inaugural Winter Classic between Buffalo and Pittsburgh at the Ralph. Would the NHL feel the need to commemorate the occasion? The Sabres have publicly petitioned for the 2018 Winter Classic, so we'll see. Logistically, it's probably a long shot, but it's fun to dream.