The 2014 IIHF Annual Congress allocated the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship to Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark.
The Danish bid got 95 votes and won against the bid from Riga, Latvia, which earned 12 votes from the IIHF member national associations. The proposed dates are 4-20 May 2018.
The next three IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships were awarded earlier to Prague and Ostrava (Czech Republic) in 2015; to Moscow and St. Petersburg (Russia) in 2016; and a co-hosted event in Cologne (Germany) and Paris (France) in 2017.
Denmark will be a first-time host for the IIHF’s flagship event after having hosted championships in lower divisions and last year a Final Olympic Qualification group. 13th in the IIHF World Ranking, Denmark has been the highest-ranked nation that has never had the chance to host the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship before.
“It will be the first time that we will host the tournament in Denmark. It will be the biggest sport event on Danish ground. You made history twice,” said Henrik Bach Nielsen, the President of the Danish Ice Hockey Union and an IIHF Council member.
Latvia proposed to host the event at Arena Riga, the main venue of the 2006 World Championship, and a secondary venue to be built.
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark with 1.9 million inhabitants and 3.8 million in the Danish-Swedish Oresund region, is the main venue for the bid with the hockey town of Herning, a city of 86,000, as second venue.
With a capacity for 12,000 fans, the Royal Arena in Copenhagen is being built and expected to open its gates by the beginning of 2016. A practice rink will be built adjacent to the Royal Arena. The arena will be located in an area between the city centre and the airport. It will be a 10-minute journey by metro and the venue’s train station allows direct connections to the airport and to Sweden. There’s also a motorway exit close to the arena. A fan zone is planned by the arena operator.
Herning is a three-hour journey from Copenhagen by car or train, or a 45-minute flight from the nearby Billund Airport.
The Jyske Bank Boxen that opened in Herning in October 2010 is a multifunctional arena for 12,000 spectators, including an event area with a football stadium and exhibition halls nearby that can be used for additional functions such as a fan zone and press centre. A railway station, bus stops and highway exit are nearby. The arena has hosted international handball and volleyball events, as well as concerts with stars like Prince, Rihanna or Lady Gaga. The KVIK Hockey Arena of the Herning Blue Fox is five kilometres away and will be used as practice facility.
Denmark presented its bid under the slogan “We are ready” after having lost a joint bid with Latvia last year against the German-French bid.
“We have a plan to move our great sport forward and today we can say we are ready. Let’s create a new home for hockey,” Bach Nielsen.
The event organization will be supported by Sport Event Denmark, a national sports event organization, and the two bid cities. The price range of tickets will be DKK 144 to 1,152 (€19-155).
Denmark has played in lower divisions for decades before earning promotion in 2002. Since 2003 the Danes have been playing in the top division and have begun producing NHL-calibre talent with currently three players in the big league. One of them addressed the congress in the bid presentation.
“Until some years ago hockey had little coverage in Denmark. We kept believing in ourselves and were willing to become better. We want to be a top hockey nation,” Edmonton Oilers’ defenseman Philip Larsen said in his speech. “We are still one final step missing: the chance to show our fans what we can do on home ice. By that we can show all the other small nations what they can accomplish with hard work and team spirit.”