They were islands of stars and stripes in a sea of red and white. Their voices may have been drowned out, but their enthusiasm did not take
a back seat to anyone.
While organizers estimate that almost 70 percent of the ticket packages for the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship were sold to Canadian fans, those lucky few Americans who attended the games inside HSBC Arena were loud and proud in their support of the U.S. squad.
“I’ve been very impressed with the crowds,” said Keith Allain, who was coaching in his fifth World Junior tournament including three as head coach. “You would never have envisioned that even four years ago, so I’ve been impressed.”
The 2011 World Junior Championship will go down as the most successful and most attended event ever hosted by USA Hockey. The 11-day tournament drew 331,297 fans for the 31 total games at HSBC Arena in Buffalo and Dwyer Arena on the campus of Niagara University.
This year’s attendance mark shattered the previous mark set in 2005 when 195,771 attended games in Grand Forks and Thief River Falls, N.D., but fell short of the all-time mark of 453,282 set at the 2009 World Juniors in Ottawa.
The house was rocking at the HSBC Arena during the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship. While Canadian fans flocked across the border in record numbers, American fans were loud and proud in their support of the U.S. National Junior Team that fought back from a disappointing semifinal loss to claim the bronze medal, marking the first time the U.S. Junior Team won back-to-back medals at the prestigious international tournament.