There's no finer tradition than USA Hockey making a big announcement, choosing Buffalo, and you feeling just a little disappointed. Such was the case on Tuesday when USA Hockey announced that your 2018 World Junior Championships will not be a vacation, naming Rust Belt cities Buffalo, Pittsburgh and St. Louis finalists for the event, eliminating Chicago and Tampa from the running.
Chicago is likely no surprise. Though the tournament is big in hockey circles, it likely isn't big enough to make a splash in the Second City. Tampa was a non-traditional choice, but seemingly not any less traditional than St. Louis. Having the tournament's smaller, secondary rink so far from the main arena, especially if the US and Canada ended up in different groups, would have been a major hitch in Tampa's bid.
Of the three remaining cities, Buffalo likely stands out as the favorite. Despite Emerson Etem's feelings on the city, the new facilities in Buffalo are world-class, and as much as the event may have grown and changed in recent years, hosting the event on the US-Canadian border makes a lot more financial sense. Eliminating the two most exciting options today may make the final decision easier to swallow when it is officially announced.