Beating out other finalists across the country, Hartford, Conn. and its convention leaders won a bid to host the USA Hockey Junior National Championships, which will be held at the International Skating Center of Connecticut (ISCC) in April 2014 and 2015.
Owner of the ISCC, Bob Crawford worked the intensive competitive bid process with the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB), which markets all of Connecticut as a destination for international, national, regional and statewide conventions. They had to overcome finalists in New York City, Chicago, Dallas and Rochester, Minn. to win the bid for Connecticut.
“This event is a major get for our industry because every city wants it,” said Crawford. “Greater Hartford has been the host of four national championships since 2001 – three of them in the last three years. But the Junior Under 20 age group is impressive because athletes will be moving to NCAA Divisions I and III, and college recruitment decision-makers come and scout the players.”
The 2014 and 2015 USA Hockey Junior National Championships games will be open to the public.
“Each of the USA Hockey Junior National Championships will generate over 2,000 room nights for Greater Hartford, the athletes, their coaches and families, and college recruiters will utilize multiple hotels,” said Curt Jensen, director of sports marketing, Connecticut Convention and Sports Bureau. “The projected economic impact to our region from this tournament is more than $2 million in 2014 and again in 2015. While they are here, the visitors will bring new business to our hotels, restaurants and attractions and, thereby, generate additional sales tax revenue.”
Co-hosting the Championships with the Hartford Junior Wolf Pack is the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League, the oldest junior hockey league in the nation that was founded in 1966 by the New York Rangers.
Glenn Hefferan is the Past President of the organization and is also chairman for the local organizing committee for the Championships.
“Connecticut is the prime location for a major junior tournament, with 50 percent of all high school hockey players in the U.S. in the corridor between Washington, D.C. and Portland, Maine,” said Hefferan. ”In addition, Hartford is within four hours from 35 different Division I and 45 division III programs – an easy drive for college recruiters and scouts.”
During the Championships, ice hockey clinics and seminars will be held in other venues, including Champions Skating Center in Cromwell, Conn. and the Bolton Ice Palace in Bolton, Conn.