USA Hockey announced today that the Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, will serve as host of the 2026 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Hockey Championship. The 10-nation tournament features the best men’s players in the world under 20 years of age, and the 29 games of the championship take place over 10 days.
The 2026 event marks the 50th anniversary of the IIHF World Junior Championship. Xcel Energy Center, home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild in Saint Paul, and 3M Arena at Mariucci on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis, will serve as the competition venues.
“We’re excited to bring this 50th anniversary edition of the World Juniors to the state of hockey,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “We know the teams and fans are in for a first-class experience at world-class venues. I’d also like to publicly thank the other finalist cities for the significant time they spent in putting together proposals. In the end, it was an extremely difficult decision.”
“We’re grateful to USA Hockey and the organizers from Minnesota,” said Luc Tardif, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation. “Minnesota is rich with hockey history, and it will be a most appropriate setting to host the 50th anniversary of this great championship.”
“Minnesota is thrilled to host the 2026 World Junior Hockey Championship – another major sporting event that brings excitement and an economic boost to the state,” said Tim Walz, Governor of the state of Minnesota. “We look forward to welcoming teams and fans from across the globe and showing everyone what it means to be the State of Hockey.”
“It’s really an honor to be selected,” said Wendy Blackshaw, president and CEO of Minnesota Sports and Events, who along with the Minnesota Wild, University of Minnesota and Xcel Energy Center partnered to bring the event to Minnesota. “We’re excited about welcoming the world to the Twin Cities and to showcase the players in the event, many who will go on to star in the NHL. Our goal is very simple and that’s to stage the best World Juniors ever held in the United States.”
“We don’t have the chance to host this tournament often, and we are thrilled to partner with our friends in Minnesota to stage what we know will be a fantastic World Junior Hockey Championship,” said Mike Trimboli, president of USA Hockey. “The tournament has become such a staple of the holiday season and something fans look forward to with great anticipation every year.”
The 2026 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship will mark just the seventh time the U.S. has hosted the event. The first-ever U.S. host site was in Minneapolis/Saint Paul in 1982, followed by Anchorage, Alaska, in 1989; Boston in 1996; Grand Forks, North Dakota, in 2005; and Buffalo, New York, in both 2011 and 2018.
Team USA has medaled in six of the last eight IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships, the best stretch in the nation’s history. The U.S. has medaled twice on home soil, earning bronze in 2011 and 2018.
The IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship includes a laundry list of alumni who are currently starring in the NHL, including the likes of Auston Matthews, Brock Boeser, Quinn Hughes, Cale Makar, Kirill Kaprizov, Matt Boldy, Jack Hughes, Nikita Kucherov, David Pastrnak, Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, Jack Eichel, Elias Pettersson, Matthew Tkachuk, Victor Hedman, Thatcher Demko and Jeremy Swayman to name just a few.
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(info courtesy of Minnesota Sports and Events)