In early 2022, with partners including the Halifax Regional Municipality, the city of Moncton, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, Scotiabank Centre and Avenir Centre were awarded the bid to host the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship. With a planning runway of six months, in what usually takes 2+ years, the international ice hockey tournament returned to Scotiabank Centre from December 20, 2022, to January 5, 2023. Bringing thousands of fans, coaches and athletes to our region, the event created major economic impact for the city and province while it showcased our venue as the home of hockey in Atlantic Canada. The delivery of the 2023 event required complex coordination across two venues in two provinces with dozens of players and coaches, hundreds of staff and volunteers, over 20 pre-tournament and tournament games, onsite fan festivals, and operational alignment with TSN and Hockey Canada.
"The entire hosting model in downtown Halifax is one of the best in Canada. Scotiabank Centre creates an incredible fan experience and the extension into the downtown through the Convention Centre and creates a hub for players, coaches, officials, dignitaries and fans to immerse themselves in the event."
- Dean McIntosh, Vice-President, Events and Properties, Hockey Canada
It was January 5, the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal game between Czechia and Canada. Canada had won six straight against Germany, Austria, Sweden, Slovakia, and the United States, but Czechia was playing strong. Tension cut through the air as more than 10,000 fans in Scotiabank Centre cheered, clapped, and gasped with each pass. By the third period, the scoreboard showed 2-0 for Canada with goals from Dylan Guenther and Shane Wright. As Canada’s goal song, “Heave Away” played through the arena, fans celebrated like Canada had already won. Midway through the third, with an unstoppable force against the offense, Czechia scored two goals 54 seconds apart. The building hushed in disbelief and all of Canada’s hopes – for a gold medal, for Conor Bedard, for the win as host country – hung in the air. The game went to overtime. Canada and Czechia played hard: up the right wing, behind the net, down the left, back to centre. With every movement, the crowd moved, too. About six minutes into overtime, Canada’s Joshua Roy took the puck with a give-and-go to Guenther, who slapped it into Czechia’s net. He scored! The building erupted. Rogers Square erupted. Canada won its twentieth World Junior Championship gold medal here at Scotiabank Centre, and all of the city and country cheered.
The 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship had a global impact on our local community. The Halifax Convention Centre was the site of the #ExploreNB Fan Fest, an inclusive, free, family-friendly celebration of the tournament. With a multi-vendor New Brunswick tourism experience, bouncy castles and interactive games, exclusive merchandise, art and informational displays, daily performances from Atlantic region musicians, documentary screenings, and live game streams both indoors and in Rogers Square, the #ExploreNB Fan Fest welcomed over 15,000 guests from December 26 to January 5.
To make an even greater impact, and to make the tournament more inclusive and accessible with the support of Hockey Canada, Scotiabank Centre donated over 350 tickets to partner organizations including Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Halifax, Kids Up Front Atlantic, and Special Olympics NS.
"With less than eight months to prepare to host 10 teams and sell over 200,000 tickets, Scotiabank Centre did an incredible job hosting the world. The atmosphere in the building, the ability to transition multiple games in and out of the building each day and the support from the staff was world-class."
- Dean McIntosh, Vice-President, Events and Properties, Hockey Canada.
Our team rose to the challenge of delivering a multi-day, internationally televised event in just a few short months. Over 200 staff per day, supported by over 200 volunteers, worked tirelessly to ensure that all 10,000 guests got to their seats for each and every puck drop. Scotiabank Centre was able to deliver the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship thanks to the exceptional service delivery standards and hard work of our operational teams. It took a range of skill and complex coordination to accomplish up to three hockey games per day. From our video production crew and ice technicians to our event attendants and event managers, security teams, engineers, marketing department, and partners at Centerplate, among many more, the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship was a success.