Representing the French ice hockey federation were GM Patrick Franscheterre, head coach Dave Hendersson and coach Pierre Pousse.
The experienced trio’s visit to Helsinki was not their first by any means. Franscheterre recalled visiting the Finland capital a couple of years ago during the NHL Premiere –game played in the Hartwall Arena.
“Finland is an experienced event host and organizer and, in addition, the Hartwall Arena is known as a good venue. In short, we do not expect any problems regarding the upcoming world championships”, says Franscheterre.
“France’s primary goal next year is, of course, to stay in Division A. This year our team reached the qualification round and we are improving. The end-result depends on a lot of things, but we are aiming to retain our spot in Division A and everything after that is forward progress for us”, head coach Hendersson states.
Jarmo Jalarvo, Dave Hendersson, Pierre Pousse, Patrick Franscheterre.
“Accommodation is good”
The French team will be staying right in the centre of Helsinki in Sokos hotel President. The French representatives liked what they saw but found a slight concern in the location of the hotel.
“Our only slight fear is how the transportations work between the hotel and the arena, especially during game-days. We have, however, talked about the special arrangements that are made for teams to ensure the transitions go smoothly, so I trust this will not be a problem”, says Hendersson.
Exploring the venue beforehand is very important for teams as well as the organizers. When the teams’ individual needs are met in advance, there is little chance for surprises during the tournament. To ensure that the teams enjoy their long stay at the hotel, it is important that teams have lots of free-time activities.
“Concerning the daily functions of the team, we are interested of where the team eats, what food we have to possibly order and of course the hotel rooms. Additional rooms are of course needed for team meetings and physiotherapy”, Franscheterre explains.
“All in all, the accommodation arrangements seem good. Today we took a look at the rooms, did some room reservations as well as other small special arrangements.”
The Frenchman also lauds the tournament organization. The organizing committee and the French delegation have known each other for years now.
“Communication between us has been good and during this Site Visit we have had plenty of time to discuss matters beforehand. The organizing committee has kept us informed and told us of how the tournament is shaping up as well as answered any questions we have had concerning the WC tournament.”