“Most successful Olympics ever”

René Fasel happy with hockey tournament and TV ratings

02.03.2010
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IIHF President and IOC Executive Board Member René Fasel is more than satisfied with the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Photo: Martin Merk

Canada is back on top of the hockey world after the women’s and men’s Olympic ice hockey tournaments in Vancouver 2010.

“Not only did both the Canadian men and women win gold on home ice, but both regained their number one positions in the IIHF World Ranking,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “Really, what are the odds for this to happen in such a competitive environment as the Olympics?”

Click here for the new IIHF World Ranking. The women’s post-Olympic ranking is the final for 2010, while men’s final 2010 ranking will be established following the IIHF World Championship in Germany (Cologne and Mannheim, May 7-23).

Fasel, who also was the chairman of the Coordination Committee for Vancouver 2010, calls the women’s and men’s events “the most successful ice hockey Olympics ever”.

“During the entire event we had one single remark from one team and that observation was minor. In terms of team services, logistics, media services, refereeing, game attendance and also TV numbers (see below) things went so well that even though I knew that we were well prepared, I am still happily surprised that everything went so smoothly,” said Fasel.

The events at the UBC Thunderbird Arena and at the Canada Hockey Place set an all-time Olympic attendance record for ice hockey with an average of 8,120 fans watching the women’s games and 16,381 attending the men’s event.

Fasel was especially satisfied with the quality of officiating. As soon as the medal ceremonies were over after the men’s final, Fasel made his way to the officials’ locker room and thanked the referees and linesmen as well as the referee supervisors.

“I don’t think we have ever completed two such tournaments without even a hint of controversy,” said Fasel to the officials. “The performance was superb and the best proof was that nobody even spoke about refereeing, nothing from the teams and nothing from media. It was a non-issue.”

“I want to say a big thank you to IIHF’s referee supervisor Konstantin Komissarov and NHL’s Terry Gregson. We had a challenge with two groups of referees and linesman from two different environments and rule books coming together, but the transition into one team was smooth and the result on ice was exceptional. As a former referee I cannot be more satisfied.

“This is also yet another excellent example of how well the IIHF and the NHL can work together,” said Fasel.

Eric Staal (Canada) became the 23rd player to join the Triple Gold Club for players who have won Olympic gold, IIHF World Championship gold and the Stanley Cup. He received his TGC membership pin Nr. 23 from IIHF President René Fasel and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in the locker room following the final game.

Gold medal attracted record TV-numbers

The men’s gold medal game between the United States and Canada attracted a massive North American television audience, making it the most-viewed hockey game in the United States in 30 years and the most-viewed show of any kind in Canadian history.

On NBC, the gold medal game drew a reported average of 27.6 million viewers and 15.2 per cent of homes, the best such figures for hockey since Feb. 24, 1980, when Team USA beat Finland in Lake Placid for its last hockey gold medal.

It was the third-biggest U.S. hockey audience, trailing only that Finland game (32.8 million viewers) and the "Miracle on Ice" two days earlier against the Soviet Union, which attracted 34.2 million, even on tape delay.

Sunday’s viewership peaked at 34.8 million from 5:30 to 6 p.m. ET, an audience size only football usually can attract among American sports.

The average viewership surpassed those for any day of the most recent World Series, NBA Finals or NCAA Final Four, as well as the Masters and the Daytona 500.

In Canada, an average of 16.6 million people (about 50 percent of total population) watched on nine channels in eight languages, forming the largest TV audience ever in that nation. About 80 per cent of Canadians (26.5 million) watched at least some part of the game.


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