World Junior Ice Hockey Championships to return to Minnesota in 2026

Chaz Lucius #16 of Team United States celebrates his goal with teammates Jack Peart #23, Sam Lipkin #22 and Jackson Blake #9 during the second period against Team Sweden in the bronze medal round of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship at Scotiaba

USA Hockey has officially announced the 2026 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Hockey Championship will be hosted in the Twin Cities.

Xcel Energy Center and the University of Minnesota Marucci Arena will host the games. The year 2026 marks the 50th anniversary of the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.

"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."

The 2026 World Juniors were among the events that Minnesota Sports and Events told FOX 9 back in March they were attempting to lure to Minnesota.

"It’s really an honor to be selected," said Wendy Blackshaw, president and CEO of Minnesota Sports and Events. "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."

The 2024 championships are set to wrap up on Jan. 5. Team USA is set to take on Finland in the semifinals in Sweden.

"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 Gov. Tim Walz. "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 last time the tournament was hosted by the U.S. was in 2018 in Buffalo, New York. The last time it was in Minnesota was 2005, when some games were played in Thief River Falls along with Grand Forks, North Dakota. Before that, the last time the Twin Cities hosted the tournament was in 1982, which was the first time the championship was hosted in the U.S. That year, games were split between Minneapolis, Bloomington, and Duluth, while other games were also played in Canada at venues in Winnipeg and Kenora.