BRATISLAVA – The annual IIHF World Championship always puts the spotlight on the hosts. This year, there are three applicants for the next open world tourney in 2016.
Denmark, Russia and Ukraine are the candidate nations that have submitted bids for the 2016 IIHF World Championship. The earlier events were granted to Finland/Sweden (2012 & 2013), Belarus (2014) and the Czech Republic (2015).
The IIHF’s member national associations will vote during the Annual Congress next weekend in Bratislava. IIHF.com takes a closer look at the bids.
Denmark: Copenhagen, Herning
The Danish Ice Hockey Association prepared for a long time to make this bid and came up with a special idea. The national football stadium, Parken, with its roll-on/roll-off roof, would be converted into an ice arena for the main venue.
The stadium was totally renovated in 2007 and normally seats 42,000.
Only half of the pitch size would be used for the ice rink, including mobile stands (see graphic below). The rest of the building can be used for all the other amenities that are usually needed for a World Championship, such as dressing rooms, the media centre, VIP dining areas, and offices.
With its hockey configuration, the Parken stadium would have a capacity of 15,000 fans.
Copenhagen is the Danish capital with 1.9 million inhabitants in the city and 3.7 million people in the region.
Visualization of the hockey configuration at the Parken Stadium.
The second city involved in the bid would be Herning, about 300 kilometres away from Copenhagen.
Some 90,000 people live in the area and the multi-purpose, 12,000-seat arena named Boxen was completed in 2010.
The proposed dates are May 6 to 22. The organizing committee is chaired by the association’s former vice-president Bo Uggerhøj, and Kim Pedersen is its general secretary.
Historically, Denmark hasn’t been a top nation in ice hockey until recently. The Danish national team earned promotion to the Top Division in 2002 and has stayed up since coming on board in 2003. Last year, the Danes had their biggest success in hockey history when they reached the quarter-finals. This year, they finished in 11th place.
Denmark has never hosted an IIHF World Championship in the Top Division before. The country has hosted several Division I events in the U20 and U18 category in the last few years, most recently the 2010 IIHF World U18 Championship Division I Group A, which took place in Herning.
The cities are also organizing several other sporting events, such as the 2011 UEFA Under-21 Football Championships, the 2011 WCF World Curling Championships, the 2013 CEV Men’s European Volleyball Championships and the 2014 Men’s EHF European Handball Championships.
The bid forecasts revenues of DKK 122,250,000 (€16.4) and a profit of DKK 14,750,000 (€2m).
Bid website (in English)
Russia: Moscow, St. Petersburg
“Russia welcomes world ice hockey” is the slogan of the Russian bid. The Russians hope to bring the IIHF World Championship back to their country nine years after hosting it in Moscow in 2007.
On the ice, the Russians are by far the most successful of the three bidding nations. They enter the race with two of Europe’s biggest cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, and two big hockey arenas.
Moscow and St. Petersburg would each host one of the eight-team groups, while the final round would be played in Moscow. The proposed dates are April 29 to May 15.
The arenas are well-known to ice hockey fans. Moscow’s Sports Palace Megasport would be the main venue. The 13,577-seat arena was built for the 2007 IIHF World Championship under the name of Khodynka Arena and offers two ice sheets. It is used by the annual Euro Hockey Tour event and also hosts some league games.
The second venue would be St. Petersburg’s Ice Palace, originally built for the 2000 IIHF World Championship. It was the main venue that year, and the second venue in 2000, the Sports Complex Yubileini with its three ice sheets, would be used as a practice arena in 2016. The Ice Palace is home to SKA St. Petersburg.
The Organizing Committee is headed by Alexander Zhukov, vice-president of the Russian government and president of the Russian Olympic Committee.
The balanced budget foresees revenues of 549,500,000 Rubles (€13.7m).
Russia is the most experienced of the potential hosts. Russia and the Soviet Union have hosted the IIHF World Championship six times – five times in Moscow and once in St. Petersburg. This would mark the first time that Russia would host an IIHF event in two regions.
Russia’s two most famous cities are about 800 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 four-hour ride between Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Bid website (in Russian) with video.
The Ukrainians lost to the Czech Republic when bidding for 2015, but they are eager to bring the IIHF World Championship to their capital city of Kyiv.
The Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine hopes to boost ice hockey by building new arenas, much like neighbouring Belarus is doing before the 2014 Worlds in Minsk. Sixty new ice rinks are planned in Ukraine, including arenas in Lviv, a 2022 Olympic Winter Games applicant.
Ukraine has hosted several IIHF events below the elite category in the last few years, as well as four tournaments in the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge (2005, 2006, 2008, 2010).
Infrastructure in Kyiv is being extended for the top football event next year, the UEFA Euro 2012, which will be co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland.
This year, Kyiv was the venue for the 2011 IIHF World Championship Division I Group B in the Palace of Sports, with up to 7,000 fans in attendance.
Originally built in 1960, the arena in downtown Kyiv was heavily renovated during the 2010-11 season prior to hosting the event in April.
While the Palace of Sports would serve as the secondary venue, the Ukrainians have plans for a new 12,000-seat arena in Kyiv that will open its gates in 2015 and is the main venue in the bid.
The arena, including two ice sheets, will be located 10 kilometres away from the centre of the city of three million inhabitants. A new underground station will bring fans downtown within 7-10 minutes.
Three smaller arenas in Kyiv (Kryzhynka, Avangard) and Brovary (Terminal) will be used as practice facilities.
Ukraine played in the Top Division for nine consecutive years (1999-2007) after the breakup of the Soviet Union, but the national team has failed to earn promotion back to the ranks of the top 16 nations four years in a row.
The Ukrainian bid would see the 2016 Worlds held from May 6 to 22, with a budgeted turnover of €8.2m and an after-tax profit of €780,000.