The country's largest domestic team handball tournament is coming to York, the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau has announced.

The county will host the 2015 and 2016 USA Team Handball National Championships on May 14 to 17, 2015, and May 12 to 16, 2016, at York Expo Center's Utz Arena in West Manchester Township.

USA Team Handball officials chose to bring the championships to York because of the proximity to New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., all major hubs for handball teams, Matt Van Houten, the organization's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

"I anticipate that the 2015 and 2016 Championships will have our highest turnout ever for a US National Championships," he said.

The 2015 and 2016 championships are expected to include more than 1,500 athletes, spectators and coaches to the area, generating an estimated economic impact of $1,080,411 per year for York, according to the convention & visitors bureau.

The tournament could possibly provide referee and beach handball clinics and handball demonstrations for children, as well as clinics for gym teachers interested adding the sport to physical education curriculums.

Van Houten said he hopes that the tournaments lead to the establishment of a local handball club and that handball would become an official sport in the Pennsylvania State Games.

USA Team Handball is the national governing body for the Olympic sport of team handball, according to its web site at www.


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teamusa.org/usa-team-handball.aspx.

To bring handball championships to the area, the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau submitted a bid against several other cities. Submitting bids are part of the bureau's Sport York program, a branding campaign designed to recruit events and bring money to the county.

The Sports York program presents York as "Pennsylvania's Premier Sports Destination," and highlights the area's facilities and central location on the East Coast, the bureau said.