After four misses, Sweden finally gets the championship
By Lucas Aykroyd
VANCOUVER, Canada -- September 21 -- Sweden won the right to host the 2013 IIHF Championship at the IIHF Semi-Annual Congress today, beating out Belarus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Latvia.
On the first ballot, Sweden received an overwhelming majority of 70 out of a possible 96 Congress votes. Belarus got 15, Hungary 8, and the Czech Republic 3, while Latvia withdrew before voting commenced and endorsed the Swedish bid.
The championship sites will be the capital Stockholm (Globe Arena, 13.850) and the southern city of Malmö, where a 12.500-seat arena is currently being built.
"I want to thank everyone who supported us in our ambition to hold the championship in Stockholm and Malmo in 2013," said Swedish Ice Hockey Association President Christer Englund. "We will do our best to fulfill all expectations to hold a great hockey tournament."
This marked Sweden's fourth consecutive bid for the tournament. It last hosted the IIHF World Championship in 2002. Overall, this will be the tenth time the Swedes have hosted. They have never won the gold medal on home ice.
Five Swedish members of the Vancouver Canucks organization -- Markus Naslund, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Mattias Ohlund, and Thomas Gradin --came to the Westin Bayshore Hotel, the Congress venue, to offer their support for the Swedish bid on September 20, and may have helped to sway the voters.
Hungary and Belarus, while expressing their congratulations to Sweden, announced they would both apply to host the 2014 tournament.
In other news:
++ Medical Committee Chairman Murray Costello submitted the following motion: "All Member Federations of the IIHF immediately accept World Anti-Doping Code compliancy, including applying code sanctions for all doping infractions." In 2003 in Copenhagen, the IIHF signed on to comply with the standards of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Costello pointed out that there have been cases where players have tested positive for illegal drugs, but the member federation sanctions against them have been less than those mentioned in the Code (a two-year ban), and WADA has pressed the IIHF to challenge federations about these lesser sanctions. This could result in the IIHF's being obliged to take federations to the Court of Arbitration in Sport, which would prove expensive and time-consuming for all parties. Costello added that the motion, which was approved by delegates, will keep the international hockey family in step with the anti-doping policies of other sports around the world. "We're very fortunate that hockey isn't a sport that has heavy steroid use, and the low incidence of positive results at our championships shows that," said Costello.
++ Further details emerged about the inaugural World Women's U18 Championship. It will be held January 7-12, 2008 in Calgary, Canada. "It's a model that should be followed," said IIHF Vice-President and Women's Committee Chairman Walter Bush about Canada's preparations to host the tournament. It was agreed that all nations that participate in this tournament will return for the 2009 edition. Then, a relegation system and Division I will be established for this category.
++ IIHF Director of Communications Szymon Szemberg announced that in addition to the general release of the 100th anniversary commemorative book, World of Hockey: Celebrating a Century of the IIHF, a limited advance edition of 100 copies had been printed for Congress delegates and guests in Vancouver. "We decided very early that we were not celebrating 'ourselves,' as in the IIHF office and office members or the Council," said Szemberg. "We are celebrating the game of hockey, and those who made the game great, and the great events. The book is for casual fans as well as hockey historians." November 13 will mark the official launch in conjunction with the Hockey Hall of Fame inductions in Toronto.