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Ticket sales strong for 2015 world juniors in Montreal and Toronto

Canadian fans cheer prior to the World Junior Hockey Championships semifinal between Canada and Finland at Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden on Saturday, Jan. 4.

LUDVIG THUNMAN / TT/AP

Ticket packages have nearly sold out in Toronto and are more than 50 per cent sold in Montreal for the 2015 world junior hockey championship.

The tickets went on sale Dec. 30 and are selling fast, said Pat McEleney, executive director of the 2015 and 2017 world juniors, which will both be held in Montreal and Toronto.

"We're excited about where we are," said McEleney.

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Hockey Canada is looking to set attendance records and reap record profits by holding the event in Canada's two largest cities.

In 2015, Canada will play its round-robin games as well as a quarter-final at the 21,273-seat Bell Centre before moving to the 18,819-seat Air Canada Centre in Toronto for the medal round. Toronto will also host the five-team round-robin group that Canada is not in.

Canada will start the 2017 event in Toronto, with the other group and the medal round in Montreal.

They hope to fill the rinks for games Canada is not involved in as well. Ticket package holders who don't want to use some games can re-sell or donate the tickets back to organizers for resale or distribution to minor hockey teams.

Sales of those tickets are expected to begin in the fall.

"It's important to us to have full buildings," said McEleney. "It's important to the event and to other teams coming to Canada."

He said they hope to make at least $22 million in profit in 2015, which will be used to fund hockey programs across the country.

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Co-hosts Calgary and Edmonton set the world junior attendance record of 444,718 in 2012 and earned $21 million in profit.

Sales have been slower in Montreal because the medal round tends to sell more quickly than round-robin games, said Marie-Christine Boucher, general manager for the Montreal side of the event.

"We're very happy about the numbers right now," she said.

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