Hockey world juniors will head to Minnesota in ’25-26 for tournament’s 50th edition

MINNEAPOLIS — The 50th anniversary of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Hockey Championship will be played in Minnesota. USA Hockey made the announcement on Friday, saying the Twin Cities will serve as host of the 2025-26 tournament.

According to the IIHF, this is just the seventh time that the event has been in the U.S. The first-ever U.S. host site was held in Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1981-82.

“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 said in a press release. “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.”

The 29 games in the 10-nation, 10-day tournament will be played at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, home of the NHL ’s Minnesota Wild, and Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, home of the University of Minnesota.

“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,” Governor Tim Walz said in the release. “We look forward to welcoming teams and fans from across the globe and showing everyone what it means to be the State of Hockey.”

The announcement came before the gold-medal game for the annual under-20 tournament, held this year in Gothenburg, Sweden. The U.S. and Sweden were the two finalists.

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.

Previously, Anchorage, Alaska hosted in 1996, Grand Forks, North Dakota in 2005, and Buffalo, New York hosted the event in 2011 and 2018.

The 2024-25 event will be played in Ottawa, Canada.