BRATISLAVA Ė The final game of the 2011 World Championship between Finland and Sweden hadnít even been played, but both the Finnish and the Swedish representatives of the 2012/13 tournament organizing committees were all smiles.
Had they been able to orchestrate how the 2011 tournament would play out, a final between the two countries would probably been the way they had done it. But Kalervo Kummola, chairman of the Finnish federation, Christer Englund, chairman of the Swedish federation, Mika Sulin, general secretary of the Finnish tournament organising committee and Lars G Karlsson, Sulinís counterpart in Sweden were happy just to be there, really.
- We want to welcome you to Helsinki and Stockholm for 2012 and 2013. It has been my dream for a long time to be able to play the tournament in two countries, and I am happy that weíve now found an understanding, said Kummola, whoís also been an IIHF Council Member since 1998.
- The problem that the World Championship marketers have had is that the host team can only play at one venue. But with two host nations, we can now have both Sweden and Finland play on home ice, for most of the tournament, he added.
The quartet presented the arenas, the cities, the countries, and the organization to the media audience.
- We have two great venues in Helsinkiís Hartwall Areena and the Ericsson Globe arena in Stockholm. The distance between the two Nordic capitals is just under 400 kilometers, and there are over ten daily flights between them. There are also ferries leaving every night from Helsinki to Stockholm, and vice versa, said Sulin
- We have an organizing committee which includes the IIHF and its marketing partners, and in adition, both countries have their own organizations, he added.
The 2012 tournament will already feature the new game format, with two groups of eight teams, and quarterfinals that will be played within each group.
- Iím happy with the new format, because now the fans and the media know in advance who will play and where. It makes life easier for everyone, said Englund.
A gold and a silver medal from the 2011 tournament help, too.