IIHF opens Centennial Ice Rink
100-year IIHF celebration is officially underway.
November 29, 2007. - ZURICH, Switzerland - Under sunny skies and perfect crisp winter weather, the IIHF kicked-off its 100-year celebration in grand style as it hosted the opening of an ice rink, built specifically for the centennial celebration, located at the IIHF’s Zurich, Switzerland, headquarters.
As the legendary Bob Johnson once said: “Today is a great day for hockey.” And indeed the transformed garden of the IIHF headquarters proved to be the perfect setting for the much-anticipated opening.
On hand for the festivities were several key hockey and Swiss government personalities. Swiss Federal Council member and Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz - a former defenceman and club president of SC Herisau - helped IIHF President René Fasel along with Swiss Ice Hockey Association President Fredy Egli to cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the rink. Zurich Mayor Elmar Ledergerber was also on the ice for the grand opening.
Fasel thanked everyone involved in the ice rink project acknowledging: “It is no easy task to get an ice rink built in the middle of a city, but thanks to the cooperation and enthusiasm of everybody involved, we were able to achieve our goal. Now we look ahead to an exciting year of hockey.”
After the ribbon cutting, junior players from the Swiss club EHC Seewen were the lucky ones to be the first to skate on the new ice. The players ushered in the new century of hockey in a ceremony that paid tribute to the past decades of the game. IIHF Hall of Fame member Jakob Kolliker dropped the ceremonial first puck for the team.
The ice rink will be open for a little over three months and will host numerous local schools and youth hockey clubs during that time. The rink, smaller than a regulation-sized North American ice, is complete with a scoreboard, skate rental, and even lights for evening and night-time games.
The IIHF also took the occasion of its Zurich rink opening to debut the official commemorative Swiss stamp and the commemorative Swiss coin. Both were designed to pay tribute to the IIHF’s and Swiss Ice Hockey’s centennial celebration and will be available for the upcoming year.
The ice rink is just the first of many centennial activities that the IIHF has planned in the upcoming season. A Global Skills Challenge is already underway in participating nations, in addition to a Top 100 Ice Hockey Story countdown. The celebrations will culminate at the 2008 IIHF World Championship this May in Canada.
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