Jan-Åke Edvinsson (SWE)

Born: Trolle Ljungby, Sweden, September 13, 1941

Edvinsson is the architect of the modern IIHF. He was the Federation's highest executive for 21 years, leading the day-to-day operations as the General Secretary between 1986 and 2006, a period longer than anyone in the organization’s history.

It was during these two decades that the IIHF and its championship programs developed in an unprecedented manner. Edvinsson turned a small and parochial operation into a modern international sports federation which cast an influence on the game in every corner of the globe. When he assumed the position in 1986, the IIHF had 34 member nations and oversaw a tournament program that consisted of just eight events. The annual IIHF budget was 3.5 million Swiss Francs, and the office had but two employees.

Upon his retirement in 2006, the IIHF had 64 member nations spread over every continent, and the annual program of events encompassed 29 international tournaments and several club competitions. The office staff had grown to 25 while the budget in his last year was 50 million Swiss Francs.

Without doubt, Edvinsson’s greatest assets were his fiscal responsibility and his ability to communicate with representatives from the IIHF's members associations in a harmonious and attentive manner. When René Fasel was elected IIHF President in 1994, Edvinsson, already in his ninth year as international hockey’s main executive, became a mentor to the President.

Edvinsson’s career in hockey started in 1972 when he assumed duties as the financial manager of the Swedish Ice Hockey Association. In 1976, he became the SIHA’s General Secretary. He was recruited by the IIHF in 1985 and started work a year later when the IIHF still had its offices in Vienna, Austria. Edvinsson oversaw the federation’s move to Zurich in 1991 where the office expanded to such a degree that it was re-located twice, finally settling at the present location – an historic villa in the heart of the city – in 2002 and boasting one of the finest headquarters of all international team sports federations.  

Jan-Åke Edvinsson still resides in the Zurich area with his wife, Gittan, and still contributes to the IIHF as the federation's Technical Delegate for the Olympic Winter Games.

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