Russia will host the 2022 World Junior Championship, International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President René Fasel has claimed, although this has yet to have been confirmed by the Russian Hockey Federation (RHF).
Fasel, also a member of the International Olympic Committee’s ruling Executive Board, announced the competition could take place in Novosibirsk, Western Siberia, St. Petersburg or Ufa, the capital of the Volga Republic of Bashkiria, according to Russian news agency ITAR-TASS.
RHF President Vladislav Tretyak, a three-time Winter Olympic gold medallist, has, however, disputed the claims, insisting no formal decision had yet been made.
“Russia has a great experience of hosting World Championships,” Tretyak, a member of the Soviet Union teams which won the Olympic ice hockey title at Sapporo 1972, Innsbruck 1976 and Sarajevo 1984, said.
“We are ready to host these tournaments and hold them at the highest level.
“As for the 2022 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship, no final decision has been taken yet.”
The country will stage this year’s IIHF World Championship. with matches due to be played in capital Moscow as well as St. Petersburg.
The tournament is scheduled to run from May 6 to 22.
Russia also hosted the 2013 World Junior Championship.
The tournament took place in Ufa and was won by the United States, who beat Sweden 3-1 in the final.
The announcement from Fasel, President of ice hockey’s world governing body since 1994, comes after Russia finished as runners-up in the 2015 World Junior Championship, losing out to host country Finland 4-3 in overtime in the final.
The match was reportedly watched by 45 per cent of Finland’s population as a peak of 2.5 million people tuned in to see their country claim gold.
The figures reflect the huge interest in the tournament across the Scandinavian country, with a record total of 215,225 fans having attended matches at an average of 7,174 per game.
Malmö 2014 had held the previous attendance record, with 144,268 watching games in Sweden with an average of 4,653.
The 2017 World Junior Championship is due to be held in cities across Canada, while the 2018 event is scheduled to take place in Buffalo in the United States
It is due to feature an outdoor match for the first time in the history of the competition.