COLOGNE – Organizers of the 2011 IIHF World Championship in the cities of Bratislava and Košice say plans are on track to play host to the most important sports event in the history of Slovakia.
Organizers outlined plans for the 2011 Worlds at a news conference at Lanxess Arena for the 16-team competition that will start on April 29 and conclude with the gold medal game on May 15.
Igor Nemecek, chairman of the organizing committee, said it was “a great day for Slovakia when the IIHF awarded its showcase event to Bratislava and Košice.”
Nemecek said construction of a new arena in Bratislava will be completed in November and an international tournament will be held there in February. The arena in Košice was built in 2006.
The organizing committee will meet with the IIHF after the 2010 World Championship has ended to draft a schedule for next year’s world tournament. Once that is done, ticket sales will begin.
“Our team is fully dedicated to prepare the best possible tournament for the players, media representatives, commercial partners and certainly fans from all over the world,’’ Nemecek said.
The mascot for the 2011 World Championship was introduced. The mascot is a wolf named Gooly and the name was chose from 14,000 named submitted to the organizing committee in a contest.
“Wolves are typical Slovak animals associated closely with our forests and countryside,’’ Nemecek said.
Marketing director Martin Rybr said the theme of the 2011 World Championship will be, “Slovakia Republic Hockey Republic.
“Hockey has been the most important sport in Slovakia in the last 10 years. We are ready to entertain fans from around the world.
“It is the biggest event in the short history of Slovakia.”
For more information about the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia, visit 2011.iihfworlds.com.