René Fasel Close Biography
Dr René Fasel was elected IIHF President in June 1994 at the Congress in Venice. A dentist by trade, Fasel was born on 6 February 1950 in Fribourg, Switzerland. He played for HC Fribourg-Gottéron in the amateur division and in the National League B before moving into international refereeing.
As a referee, he made his way up to the top division, officiating in 37 international games. In 1985, the dentist with the gift for languages became president of the Swiss Ice Hockey Association, and in 1986 he joined the IIHF leadership when he was elected as IIHF Council member. Since then, he has served as chairman in the Referee, Marketing and Women's Committees of the IIHF.
When René Fasel became Dr Sabetzki's successor as IIHF President, the world federation steeped in tradition entered a new era. The new President was anxious to establish a closer contact with the professional organizations in North America and consolidated the relations between IIHF and NHL. It is thanks in no small part to René Fasel's efforts that in 1998, at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, the NHL’s top professional players competed for the first time at an Olympic Games. The integration of In-Line Hockey into the IIHF and the foundation of the European Hockey League were other long-term projects that have been successfully realized during Fasel's presidency.
Fasel was re-elected for a fourth term as IIHF President at the IIHF General Congress in Montreal, Canada, in May 2008, and was most recently re-elected for another four-year term in September 2012 at the General Congress in Tokyo, Japan.
IOC Executive Member
In June 1995, René Fasel was appointed, as the very first ice hockey representative in history, to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In this role, the IIHF President has raised the stature of the sport of ice hockey enormously.
In 1997, René Fasel was commissioned by the IOC to compile a study on the dental treatment of Olympic athletes at the University of Barcelona. He earned the doctor's degree for his work in 2008.
Fasel has been serving as the president of the Association of the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) since 2002. He was also named the chairman of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics Co-ordination Committee.
Fasel was elected onto the IOC Executive Board for a four-year term during the 120th IOC Session in Beijing on 7th August, 2008, as the winter sports representative. The executive board is the highest body within the IOC and assumes the ultimate responsibility for the administration of the IOC. During the 124th session in London in 2012, he was re-elected to the board for another four-year term.
In 2004, Fasel was given the prestigious Legion of Honour Award which is the highest award given by the French Republic for outstanding service to France, regardless of the nationality of the recipient. Also in 2004, Fasel was awarded the Ukrainian VIZHIBU prize for significant contribution to the development and popularisation of ice hockey in the world. In 2008, Fasel received the Special Award of the Swiss Association at their Centennial Gala, which honours personalities for extraordinary contributions to Swiss ice hockey. In 2011, Russia awarded him the Order of Friendship of Peoples by Russia. The order, also known as the "Druzhba" ("Friendship"), is the highest Russian award that can be presented to a foreigner.