BRATISLAVA – The 2016 IIHF World Championship will take place in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. Denmark and Ukraine withdrew their bids and they will apply to host the world tourney later.
The IIHF’s member national associations accepted the Russian bid with applause at the 2011 IIHF Annual Congress in Bratislava, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin held a speech in front of the congress.
Russia will host the World Championship in five years in Moscow and St. Petersburg in state-of-the-art venues that are ready and were already used for the IIHF World Championships in 2000 and 2007.
The event will take place from April 29 to May 15, 2016, and coincide with the 70-year anniversary of Russian ice hockey.
The arenas are well-known to hockey fans. Moscow’s 13,577-seat arena Sports Palace Megasport will be the main venue of the event. The arena was built in view of the 2007 IIHF World Championship and then called Khodynka Arena.
It offers two ice sheets so teams don’t need an additional facility for practice. The capacity is 13,577 seats and the arena includes 39 VIP boxes, two restaurants, eight dressing rooms, two gyms and media facilities.
It is used by the annual Euro Hockey Tour event and it also hosted some league games of Dynamo Moscow during the 2010-2011 season. Most recently it organized the world championship in figure skating within only a few weeks of preparation after the natural disaster in Japan.
The second city will be St. Petersburg, Russia’s “gateway to Europe”.
The games will be played at the Ice Palace, originally built for the 2000 IIHF World Championship. The 12,300-seat arena is regularly used for league games of SKA St. Petersburg and offers 74 VIP boxes, 30 cafés, eight locker rooms and media facilities.
The second venue of the 2000 Worlds, the Sports Complex Yubileini with its three ice sheets, will be used as a practice arena in 2016.
“All sites are finalized, and we are ready to host the event at the highest level and with guarantees from the Russian government and the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg,” said Yuri Nagornykh, the Deputy Minister of Sports, Tourism and Youth. He also announced that serious steps are taken to ease the visa procedures.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will send special directions to countries with high interest in the 2016 IIHF World Championship so they will get visas easily,” Nagornykh said. “We are also discussing visa-free travelling with the European Union and other countries.”
Russia and the Soviet Union have hosted the IIHF World Championship six times – five times in Moscow and once in St. Petersburg. The 2016 IIHF World Championship will be the first IIHF event hosted in two Russian regions.
Single-ticket prices for the preliminary round will cost between €10 and 40. There will be a “my team” package for seven preliminary-round games of your favourite team available and a “gold package” for the final round.
Fan villages will be built next to both arenas with huge television screens, amusement facilities and various competitions.
“We are sure that each of the six World Championships that took place in our country before had a big influence on the world of ice hockey,” said Vladislav Tretyak, the goalie legend who’s the President of the Russian Hockey Federation. “Our bid is based on our experience of organizing IIHF World Championships and world-class sporting events.”
“We are not inflating the budget, as we say in Russia, because we already have two world-class venues ready, and can use the money for other important things of organizing a tournament,” Tretyak added.
“Russia has a great hockey tradition and people in Russia love this game. We have rich experience of hosting the IIHF World Championship and major sport events.”
The bid includes the biggest cities of the country and some of the most populated ones in Europe with Moscow (11.7 million inhabitants) and St. Petersburg (5 million).
Russia’s two best-known cities are 696 kilometres away from each other, but they are well connected by regular flights and by the recently launched high-speed train, Sapsan, that offers a three-and-a-half-hour ride between the city centres of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
One group each will be hosted in Moscow and St. Petersburg and the quarter-final games take place within the groups at the two venues. The semi-finals and medal games will be played in Moscow.
The strong bid and hockey tradition convinced the Danes and Ukrainians to withdraw their bids in favour of Russia’s. The Russian bid remained the only one, making the vote redundant.
The Organizing Committee will be headed by Alexander Zhukov, Vice-Prime Minister of Russia and President of the Russian Olympic Committee. It will also include other Russian personalities including Vitali Mutko, Minister of Sports, Tourism and Youth, Sergei Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow, Valentina Matvienko, Governor of St. Petersburg, and Vladislav Tretyak, President of the Russian Hockey Federation.
The balanced budget foresees revenues of 549,500,000 Rubles (€13.7m).
Future bids from Denmark, Latvia, Ukraine
Denmark (Copenhagen, Herning) and Latvia (Riga) announced their intention to bid for the 2017 IIHF World Championship. The vote will take place during the Annual Congress in one year.
“After discussions, we decided to withdraw the bid and will bid even harder in 2017,” said Henrik Bach Nielsen, the President of the Danish Ice Hockey Association.
They will have to bid against Latvia, which has already entered its application to host the event in 2017 in Riga, where the 2006 IIHF World Championship was held, before the congress. The Latvian Hockey Federation’s President Kirovs Lipmans confirmed his intention towards the members of the congress.
Ukraine announced its intention to apply for the IIHF World Championship in 2018 or later considering the newest developments in another region of the country, Donetsk, so it could include a second city.
“We are considering in the current situation to have big events also in Donetsk and to build a 15,000-seat arena there. That’s why we decided to make our final bid for the IIHF World Championship after the UEFA Euro 2012 [the European football championship Ukraine co-hosts with Poland],” said Anatoli Brezvin, the President of the Ukrainian Ice Hockey Federation. “We would like to stay in the bidding process and construct new ice rinks and bid for another World Championship.”