ZURICH – The IIHF has officially received the bids for the right to host the 81st IIHF World Championship in 2017. There will be two co-hosting bids for the tournament, one from Germany-France and the other from Denmark-Latvia.
Following the success of the Finland/Sweden World Championship in 2011-12, the door has opened to more co-hosting opportunities for the world’s biggest annual international ice hockey tournament. The winning bid will be voted on during the 2013 IIHF Congress in Stockholm in May.
Germany - France 2017
France and Germany have combined forces in an effort to bring the Worlds as part of a wider effort to promote hockey in both countries.
“From our side, hosting the World Championship is a part of the development strategy for France,” said French Ice Hockey Federation General Secretary Eric Ropert. “We thought that we wouldn’t be able to do it alone, after all the last time we hosted the World Championship was in 1951. We have an excellent working relationship with Germany, and we can benefit from the experience that they had hosting the World Championship in 2010.”
“If we look at the last six years we are increasing the number of players, the national team is doing better each year, the media attraction is developing and our budget is increasing as we take on more and more partners. The timing is good for us.”
The plan according to the bid is to have Cologne, Germany as the primary venue, with the secondary venue located at the Palais Omnisport Paris-Bercy Arena in Paris. Cologne’s Lanxess Arena – the biggest arena in Europe with a capacity for 18,000 spectators – will host the semi-finals and medal games.
“We chose Cologne because of the good infrastructure and because it is closer to Paris than Berlin,” said Germany Ice Hockey federation General Secretary Franz Reindl.
“In Germany we like to always have a goal on the horizon to reach. Hockey in Germany is very regional, newspapers cover the sport in the major cities like Berlin and Cologne, but at the nationwide level is where we think the sport needs to be promoted, and the World Championship will help with this.”
Denmark – Latvia 2017
Next up in the bid list for 2017 are Denmark and Latvia. These two countries may be smaller than their bid rivals, but have repeatedly punched above their weight when it comes to their hockey teams.
For Denmark, the main host for the championship, the 2017 Worlds would be the single biggest sporting event that the country has ever hosted. The site for the games in Denmark will be Copenhagen Arena, a planned multi-use indoor arena in the neighbourhood of Ørestad Syd. Construction of the arena is set to begin in mid-2013, and will be able to host up to 12,500 spectators.
Since 2003 Latvia has hosted nine IIHF tournaments and two Olympic qualification tournaments, with a third coming up next month. The country has also developed a reputation for having some of the most enthusiastic hockey fans on the continent, and its national team is a regular fixture at World Championships. Latvia’s hockey-mad reputation was cemented in 2006 when Riga hosted the World Championship.
"Taking into account the successful organization of the IIHF World Championship 2006 in Latvia I believe that it was a great experience for all participating nations, as well as all parties involved, such as organizers, teams, staff and guests,” said Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis. “With the experience the Latvian Hockey Federation gained during this event, we will be honoured to host the Championship in 2017 once again."
Arena Riga in the Latvian capital, home to the KHL’s Dinamo Riga, will be the site for the tournament games. There are also plans to set up not just one but three fan zones, one at the arena, another at the Riga Congress Hall, and the last in Riga’s Old Town.