The 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will start in eight months but preparations are underway. Recently the IIHF held a site visit in the Czech Republic.
The two-day visit by representatives of the International Ice Hockey Federation and Infront Sports & Media was led by IIHF General Secretary Horst Lichtner. Together with his colleagues from the sport’s governing body, the commercial partner and the organizing committee, he visited both venues of the World Championship – the CEZ Arena in Ostrava and the O2 Arena in Prague – followed by a meeting about different aspects of organizing the event next spring.
“You can tell that the whole process is being directed by a professional organizing committee and the whole team is working responsibly,” said Lichtner.
“The arena in Ostrava is really beautiful and you can see that they’ve invested money in it. I believe that especially the Slovak national team will feel like at home there. I have not seen any games in Prague’s O2 Arena yet but I know about this place from other events and I have to say it is one of the best arenas in Europe. Prague itself is a significant tourist destination and therefore is an ideal place for hosting the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.”
This was already the third site visit and there were a lot of items on the IIHF’s agenda – first, there were questions about the sport side of the event, then television operations and the fan village for supporters. “Since 2004, the last time the Czech Republic hosted the World Championship, demands on organizers have increased. There is a lot of work in front of them but we believe that it will be handled in a timely fashion," Lichtner said.
Martin Urban, the General Secretary of the Czech Ice Hockey Association, echoed those sentiments: “The list of our completed tasks is much longer than the one with upcoming objectives.”
At the same time, Lichtner expressed appreciation for the support of the Moravian-Silesian region and both hosting cities. “On behalf of the IIHF, I have to really express our gratitude for all the support, which is always needed when organizing such events. We are glad that you are approaching this championship as positively as you are.”