UFA – With the start of the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship, history was written on IIHF.com with a new dedicated website for the event that is also the IIHF’s first bilingual website.
Since the last redesign of IIHF.com five years ago the interest in the various IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship events and other hockey programs has grown immensely.
“Between Ottawa 2009 and Alberta 2012 the numbers have almost doubled for the U20 World Championships,” said IIHF Website Manager Martin Merk. “We had visitors from more than 180 countries visiting our website during last year’s tournament in Calgary and Edmonton.”
While fans from Canada topped the list, this year’s website is now also covered in the second-most spoken language among IIHF users, coincidently the language used in this year’s tournament’s host city Ufa – Russian.
“When we estimated the user’s mother tongues the last time, 14 per cent of the users were identified as Russian speakers. Second behind English with 20 per cent,” Merk said.
To cope with the increasing interest in IIHF tournaments now and in the future, a new website in a new technical environment has been created over the past few months.
The preparation included hours of technical work to make the website ready, to accommodate the Cyrillic alphabet and to present game information and statistics in improved ways while also launching a new version of the IIHF’s popular and free mobile phone apps.
“On the editorial side the preparation included obvious tasks like forming a bilingual team for Ufa and the translation of the user menu and stats vocabulary,” said Merk. “But also transcription rules from nine different languages to the Cyrillic alphabet were defined in order to transcribe hundreds of names of players, team staff, officials and clubs and have them appear properly in Russian.”
All the work was rewarded with a fresh and improved look and feel for hockey fans all over the world.
For the English content the team includes two well-known writers for readers of international hockey content with Lucas Aykroyd, who was been writing for the IIHF from its events dating back in 2000, and fellow Canadian Andrew Podnieks, who was been working for the IIHF as a writer and hockey historian for many years.
The three-man editorial team for the Russian version is led by Russian-language editor Taras Mukovoz and includes Vladislav Domrachyov and Alexander Yakobson as writers.
Mukovoz worked for many years as a translator at the IIHF European Champions Cup in St. Petersburg and later as the Champions Hockey League Media Officer at the Russian venues in Ufa and Magnitogorsk.
Yakobson is a young aspiring journalist who worked for a couple of respective affiliations in St. Petersburg including coverage of the hockey team SKA St. Petersburg and football club Zenit St. Petersburg.
Domrachyov from Moscow is an experienced and well-known journalist in Russia bringing balance to the group. He normally works for the sports daily Sovietski Sport.
“It is a good first step to provide a Russian version for the U20 World Championship,” said Mukovoz. “If you talk about the Russian-speaking population, it’s a language spread over all former Soviet republics including Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and it is also spoken by many people in the Baltic countries. You can reach a pretty big audience. I’m proud to be part of this team, assembled as a part of this project, and hope to work at other events IIHF in the years to come.”
To bring the World Junior feeling to your screen, many people have been working directly or indirectly on the website.
The photo team of HHOF-IIHF Images, a joint project of the International Ice Hockey Federation and the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, consists of four persons at the two arenas in Ufa. One photographer and one photo editor per venue make sure that this website as well as media outlets subscribing to the service get high-quality pictures from various angles. Their official player portraits are usually shown not only on this website, but also on video cubes and on TV.
To deliver stats and the live ticker for the website, the mobile phone apps and Twitter, experienced result managers travelled to Ufa and are assisted by numerous of volunteers compiling data and making sure that no shot, no save and no face-off is missed.
While all the work is coming in and going out in form of hundreds of Gigabytes of data to the website visitors, IT people on place and back home make sure that the new website works stable in its new environment.
From the marketing side this year’s World Juniors also mark the first year of the marketing partnership between the IIHF and Hockey Canada to increase the promotion of the World Juniors and the Women’s World Championships and create higher profit for grassroots programs in the IIHF’s 72 member nations. (See news from the 2009 IIHF Annual Congress.)
After four years in North America – three in Canada and one in the U.S. border city of Buffalo – the event will be held in Europe for two years, this year in Ufa and next winter in Malmö, Sweden. As of 2015 the World Juniors will take place in Canada every second year as part of the marketing partnership.
With worldjunior2013.com, the new era of the World Juniors has been launched with a milestone in style on the internet.