International Ice Hockey Federation

Fasel addresses media

Fasel addresses media

IIHF President impressed with Prague

Published 16.05.2015 17:55 GMT+2 | Author John Sanful
Fasel addresses media
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 16: IIHF President Rene Fasel and Marketa Sterbova Press Conference during the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Rene Fasel held his annual IIHF World Championship press conference to address this tournament, the World Cup, the 2018 Winter Olympics and other items.

“Two years ago I received from our president of the Czech Ice Hockey Association to take on one task: to prepare the best event,” Sterbova said of her mission in realizing this tournament. “I hope that I can say that we have fulfilled it and must thank our team; they are the reason why this has been successful.”

This World Championship has been well received. Not only has it broken attendance records, but the number of people watching games around the world and participation on the IIHF website and social media have been at record levels. In addition, the tournament has been run smoothly in both venues with very few problems.

“With over 700,000 fans attending games, over 1 billion people watching, you know what, I’d like to play the World Championships twice a year!” Fasel countered with humour when asked if the IIHF should change the tournament participation format to every other year. “There is no wish from anyone in the federation to play every other year.”

Fasel also highlighted that there has not been one single concussion or big discussion over officiating or any controversies of note.

“We have had not one single incident in the fan village,” Fasel said of fan support. “We’ve had no issues, no fights, nothing. What more can I say? We’ve seen strong teams and overall it has been a great show.”

Fasel was asked about the second seed in Group A, Sweden, having to travel to Ostrava in the quarter-final, despite their seeding in the group which by all right would have meant they stay in Prague.

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“We decided beforehand that the Czechs would be in Prague for the quarter-final and all participants accepted it,” said Fasel in addressing this point. “No one from the Swedish team complained. Slovakia had to travel in 2002 and won the gold. Sometimes it helps to travel."

When addressing tournament officiating, Fasel said it has been fine but was concerned more with on ice communication by referees.

“We need to give officials the tools to make the call and let people who are watching a game know what is going on,” Fasel said of future improvements.

He said this includes microphones for officials to communicate calls. Officials were given a unique experience in having physiotherapists and masseurs for this tournament. Fasel cited the need to give referees and linesmen team support much the same what they do to teams participating in the World Championship.

On next year’s World Cup of Hockey, meetings have been held here in Prague to discuss the broad outlines of participation.

“I like the way they will play it. It is not a déjà vu,” Fasel said of the planned tournament. “They will have the Team European selection from the non-participating hockey countries. There will be 10 European federations bringing players to this selection. As well, the Under-23 North American Youngsters is an exciting concept. It will be an unbelievable show.”

Things are progressing for Russian tournament in 2016. Moscow-based games will be played at the new Ice Palace in Moscow that will be inaugurated on 25th May. The arena will feature three sheets of ice, hotels, shops and the Russian Hall of Fame, all in the centre of the city. It will be the new home for Dynamo Moscow.

The St. Petersburg arena will be the 7,000-seat Yubileiny instead of the home of SKA St. Petersburg. Finland will be part of the St. Petersburg group. If they are drawn for the Moscow group they will be moved.

On the 2018 Olympics, Fasel was cautiously optimistic that something could be worked out. The heart of the issue is NHL participation.

“We had some discussion with the PyeongChang organizing committee,” he said. “We have discussed with the IOC and NHL and NHLPA. Personally, I think it will be more difficult than it was last time. Going to Korea, which is not a traditional hockey country; the time zone difference makes it a bit more difficult. We will do our best to have the best there.”

IIHF General Secretary Horst Lichtner mentioned that the tournament has received good support of the city and the region and among Czech officials. He believes the revenue bottom line for the tournament will be a good one and grassroots hockey will benefit from it. Overall, he was as enthusiastic as Fasel and Sterbova about the overall success of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

“The bar is set very high. What we’ve seen here is overwhelming,” Lichtner said.


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