BERNE – Four bids are in the run for the 2014 IIHF World Championship. The event will be held in spring 2014, three months after the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
The host of the 2014 World Championship will be selected at the next Annual Congress in Berne. The bids are on the agenda for Friday, May 8th.
Latvia has previously hosted a World Championship while Belarus, Hungary and Ukraine never held a (top division) World Championship in their country.
It’s also the first time that three former Soviet republics are applying to host a World Championship for the same year.
The Czech Republic, which also intended to bid for the 2014 Worlds, withdrew its application.
The next World Championships are allocated to Germany in 2010 (Cologne, Mannheim), Slovakia in 2011 (Bratislava, Kosice), Finland in 2012 (Helsinki, Turku), and Sweden in 2013 (Stockholm, Malmö).
Key facts about the bids for 2014:
Belarus (9th in the 2008 World Ranking)
After the failed bid for the 2013 Worlds, the Belarus Ice Hockey Association applied again to host the event with the 15,000-seater Minsk Arena as the main venue. It’s currently under construction and will open its doors in December. It will also be the home of KHL team Dynamo Minsk. Another new arena in Minsk with a capacity of 8,000 is planned 18 kilometres from the main venue in the Chizhovka district.
Hungary applies to host a World Championship for the fourth consecutive time and the chance to host it might have increased after the national team played in the top division for the first time in 70 years. The main venue in the bid is the 12,500-seater Laszlo Papp Budapest Sportarena, built in 2003. The second venue is the 7,500-capacity Alba Arena, which is scheduled to open in 2010 in Szekesfehervar, a city of 100,000 inhabitants 60 kilometres from Budapest and known as Hungary’s hockey hotbed.
After hosting the World Championship for the first time in 2006, the Latvian Hockey Federation wants to bring the event back to the small hockey-crazy country and its capital Riga. The bid includes the 10,300-seater Arena Riga, which was the main venue three years ago, and a new arena for 8,000 fans which is projected to open in 2011, eight kilometres away from the Arena Riga.
Ukraine, whose national team was relegated in 2007 and hopes for promotion, is applying for the first time to host a top division World Championship. Both venues are planned in the capital city, Kyiv. The main venue would be a 12,000-capacity arena to open in 2012. The second venue, the Central Sport Palace for 5,500 fans, will open next year.