Regardless of final results for the hockey players, the City of Ottawa posted a big win by hosting the world junior championship, with an estimated $50 million injected into the local economy.

The final tally won’t be available for another three weeks, but Phil Legault, co-director of communications for the host organizing committee, said he expected to beat Vancouver’s 2006 total of $41 million by a considerable margin.

Some 25,000 people have arrived in the city and spent money on food, hotel rooms, entertainment, souvenirs and transportation for the tournament since it began on Dec. 26.
“We’ve already broken the attendance record set in Vancouver 2006, of 374,000,” Legault said.

Ottawa’s total attendance for the International Ice Hockey Federation tournament involving 10 teams and 31 games should be about 455,000 — a 22 per cent increase. “Without question (we’re pleased). The capacity will finish at about 98 per cent.”

Since Canada made it all the way to the final, even non-hockey fans were paying attention.
“With the team winning, there’s more people watching television and broadcasts,” said Noel Buckley, president of Ottawa Tourism.

“Clearly, there’s been an impact,” Buckley added. “The city has benefited immensely.”
Apart from the direct economic boost, the city also got two weeks of international television exposure.

“Just from the public relations aspect alone, it’s been beneficial,” Buckley said. With 300 media people in town showing images of Ottawa and talking about the city, viewers may consider visiting.

Ottawa also proved it can successfully host large events, so organizers of future conventions may consider holding events here.

While the strike by OC Transpo workers threw a wrench into transportation plans, the organizers, volunteers, players and the public managed to cope well, Legault said. And the strike may even have helped — with many fans carpooling and arriving early to games to ease traffic congestion, restaurants and entertainment venues around Lansdowne Park and Scotiabank Place would have benefited from increased sales.

“I would certainly think it would increase,” said Legault.