PARDUBICE – With the teams enjoying the day off before the start of the 2014 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship playoff round, the annual “Inline Family Meeting” took place in Pardubice, Czech Republic. Among the items on the agenda were rule changes and the setup for a big inline hockey festival in Tampere, Finland, host for the 2015 tournament.
The meeting opened with an official presentation of the 2015 host city of Tampere, Finland. A long-time host of IIHF tournaments, Tampere is located in southern Finland with a population of approximately 220,000 people. It is a popular location for congresses and sporting events, with the 8,000 seat Tampere Ice Arena, built originally to host the1965 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, serving as the main venue.
With the tournament planned to take place from the 5th to the 11th of July, tournament participants can expect up to 22 hours of sunlight each day.
“That’s the time of the year where the sun never goes down, so if you have sleeping problems, welcome!” joked Perttu Pesä, Event Director of the Tampere Event Office.
The tournament in sunny Tampere will be a bit different than in past Inline World Championships. The 2016 European and Rest of the World qualification tournaments usually held during the summer following the World Championship, will instead take place just before the start of the 2015 Inline Worlds.
This means that Tampere will host up to 20-25 Inline hockey teams through late June/early July of next year, setting the stage for a true “Inline Hockey Festival” next summer.
“We are excited to have so many teams from around the world in the same venue, I am sure that Tampere and the hockey fans in the city will enjoy having such a large-scale Inline event going on in the summer,” said Club Competitions Manager Luzia Baldauf.
“This will also be a great opportunity for the qualifying teams to watch games on a high level and to learn from the pros. With the very experienced organisers, unique nature and our sport it sets the stage for a great tournament.”
Also discussed at the meeting were proposed rule changes for the inline tournament. Most were minor changes, of the 16 proposals put forth 10 were passed, to be confirmed later on at the 2014 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress.
IIHF Event Director Hannes Ederer confirmed that following the end of the 2014 Inline Worlds, a Pan-American hockey meeting would take place in Pardubice on 8 June. The meeting was put together to try and find the best solutions in determining how ice hockey development can be better supported in South America through the Inline program.
Seven nations: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, and Venezuela will participate in the meeting.
“We want to show these nations what the IIHF is all about, listen to their situation regarding development and promotion of ice and inline hockey in their countries, and figure out how best we can work together,” said Ederer.
The 2014 IIHF Inline World Championship resumes on Thursday 5 June with Sweden-Slovakia the first match of the top division quarter-final round. Croatia-Japan will open the Division I playoff round.