It was more firing squad than press conference. Sure, the 2018 World Junior Championship delivered the first outdoor game in its history, Canada as gold medalist and Team USA’s Casey Mittelstadt as MVP. But another enduring image from the event was the pre-semifinal media availability in which organizers were blitzed with questions about poor attendance.
Hockey-mad Buffalo is arguably the most successful U.S. NHL market on a pound-for-pound basis, coming close to sellouts regardless of where the Sabres sit in the standings and churning out great TV ratings even when the team misses the playoffs. As WJC host in 2011, the city drew 329,687 spectators, the fourth-most in tournament history. But Buffalo flopped as the WJC host in 2018, drawing 211,210 fans, a number also artificially inflated...
About the Author
Matt Larkin is a senior writer at The Hockey News and has been part of the team since 2011. He's your one-stop shop for deep-dive player interviews, predictions, statistics, fantasy player rankings, player safety and hair tips. Catch him weekly as host of The Hockey News Live and The Hockey News Podcast.