Ice sheets have notoriously been larger in Europe than in North America. A majority of the events put on by the IIHF typically feature a wider sheet, allowing more space for creativity for players.
However, when it comes to the World Juniors and recent IIHF events, that has not been the case. More and more we are seeing IIHF-sanctioned events utilize NHL-size ice sheets, which are a bit smaller than those used overseas.
The 2023 World Juniors is one of those events. Despite it being an international competition, the ice used by the 10 teams at the tournament does not have the same dimensions as the European sheets. Instead, the games will be played on the same size that the NHLers use.
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Here is why the World Juniors are being played on NHL-size ice.
Why are the World Juniors played on NHL-size ice sheets?
There are a couple of different reasons why the World Juniors is being played on NHL-size sheets.
For starters, whoever the host country/cities are for the event already has their ice sheets set. In order to expand/shrink an ice sheet, renovations would have to be made well in advance of the tournament. Therefore, the IIHF is at the discretion of whoever they select as the hosts for the tournament.
With the 2023 games being played in Halifax and Moncton, both the Scotiabank Centre and Avenir Centre have regular ice dimensions. So it will be an NHL sheet that all the games are played on.
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This works for the IIHF. The organization has stated a desire to switch to NHL-size ice sheets for its future events. They already have plans for the 2023 and 2024 World Championships to be played on NHL sheets.
Differences between NHL and international ice dimensions
If you have ever viewed an international hockey game, whether that be at most Olympics, the World Championships, World Juniors, or a European professional league, you’ll notice there is a difference in the width of the ice.
Both European and NHL ice sheets are approximately 60 meters long, however, the NHL standard width is 26 meters while international sheets are about four meters wider, coming in around 30 meters.
This makes for a bigger ice sheet, creating more space for both teams to utilize.
Where are the 2023 World Juniors?
- Location: Halifax N.S./Moncton, N.B.
- Venue: Scotiabank Centre/Avenir Centre
The World Juniors will once again be split between two host cities, as the tournament will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton, New Brunswick.
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The games in Halifax will be played at the Scotiabank Centre, the home of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. Any of the contests in Moncton will be played at the Avenir Centre, where the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats call home.
This will be the second time Halifax is a host city for the World Juniors. Previously, the 2003 World Juniors were split between Halifax and Sydney, N.S. Moncton has never hosted the World Juniors before.
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