International Ice Hockey Federation

Only 100 days to go

Only 100 days to go

Head of the OC: “We're fine-tuning the details”

Published 21.01.2015 16:28 GMT+1 | Author Karolina Antosova, Lucie Muzikova
Only 100 days to go
2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship General Secretary Marketa Sterbova with the mascots Bob and Bobek.
The World Championship is fast approaching with only 100 days remaining. How does Marketa Sterbova, the organizer’s general secretary, evaluate the preparation?

At what stage is the preparation of the whole event?

The ambition that we had at the beginning over a year ago was to have the basic outline ready by the end of 2014 and in 2015 deal only with details and clarifying individual situations, events, accompanying programs and such. We have succeeded in fulfilling this ambition. We finished all of the most basic things before the end of the year: the necessary contracts were signed, cooperation with the state and local governments were negotiated. At this time we're only dealing with fine-tuning and completion of each section. Each department is basically just finishing the preparation of their projects.

From the perspective of the fan it can be a little difficult to imagine what is happening at this time. Could you please describe it?

As an example, preparations for the Fan Zones are almost finished because, in their case, negotiations with state authorities or local authorities were needed. On Tuesday, we held a meeting for the staff which is in charge of the security of Fan Zones and ensuring the safety of everyone inside them.

Is there a clearer idea of what the Fan Zones will look like?

They'll be both in Prague and Ostrava, and are designed to be placed as close as possible to the arenas. They'll be convenient for everyone going to watch hockey, but also for those who won't be attending games. They can come there during the day. They will always open about two hours before the first game of the day and close with the end of the last game. Fans will be able to spend time between or before games and will have a chance to purchase official merchandise, or perhaps jerseys or tournament mascots there. There will be refreshments and an entertainment schedule. Partners of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will be present in the Fan Zones and, just like every year, will organize special promotions for the championship, so things like competitions for small prizes will take place there. For sure, families with children will be able to entertain themselves. The entire space of the Fan Zones will be publicly accessible, and not only for holders of game tickets. Therefore, it will serve all fans who want to come and see and soak up some of that atmosphere.

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Is there anything that concerns you before the championship?

Last week a meeting with the Executive Committee in Switzerland was held, where it was stated that not only are we on schedule, but representatives from the IIHF even said that we are about a full marathon ahead of where we should be. So even by the IIHF, which supervises the whole process, the work done by the Organizing Committee is being evaluated very positively. It was even stated that there is no hint of a potential problem.

How satisfied are you with ticket sales so far?

As part of the Organizing Committee, we had a certain idea and I have to say that our expectations by the end of 2014 were exceeded, so we are very satisfied. Now we expect another wave to occur after splitting packages and selling tickets to individual games. This will take place in February. As for how the second wave of sales will be done exactly, we will inform fans by the end of January.

Some time ago, you unveiled the official mascots of the championship, Bob and Bobek. How is the response about them?

The response that we had during the presentation at O2 Arena during a national team game was very good. The fans couldn't take their eyes off the mascots. Everyone wanted to take a picture and kids wanted to pet or play with them or shake a paw. As iconic Czech symbols from a generations-old bedtime story, the choice of Bob and Bobek was successful. For us in the Czech Republic they are thought of as, I would say, very familiar and comfortable because, in a way, they are a part of all of us. And even abroad they are not unknown figures. Moreover, they are appealing because they are two, which is very easy to work with. I believe that even international audiences will like them.

You've said more than once that during the tournament you will have a lot of work. But is there something you will enjoy the most during the championship?

I am really looking forward to the whole championship, but if I had to choose something specific that I'm looking forward to, I would pick the opening ceremony.

Will it be special in some way?

Sure, but that's about the only thing I'm going to say. That is probably the only surprise.


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