135th IIHF Congress opened

Fasel sets stage for elections; talks about Olympic opportunity


IIHF President René Fasel opens the 2012 IIHF Semi-Annual and General Congress. Photo: Paul Romanuk

TOKYO – President René Fasel opened the 135th IIHF Congress here on Tuesday, setting the stage for Wednesday’s General Congress when a new Council will be elected. Fasel was also optimistic about a fifth consecutive best-on-best Olympics in Sochi 2014.

In his opening remarks, René Fasel reminded the delegates from some 70 member nations about the significance of the General Congress.

“It is important to emphasize that this is the highest legislative body of our federation at which statutes and bylaws will be discussed and potentially changed and this is something that only comes around every fourth year,” said Fasel also pointing out that this is the first time the IIHF holds a congress in Asia.

“It is also very important to stress that the General Congress is the occasion where all power is with our 72 member federations. It is you that make the decisions and you elect the representatives to whom you give the mandate to implement your decisions until 2016,” said Fasel addressing the delegates prior to Wednesday’s elections.

Fasel also had some words for the council candidates:

“To the candidates who have put their names up for election, I would like to say this: In ice hockey, or in any other sports, you can work at the club level, the regional level, the national level or the international level. We could not fulfill our work in ice hockey with all those volunteers on all those levels. All levels are equally important and all have their challenges.”

“But as you now have decided to run for a council position with the International Ice Hockey Federation, you must have the commitment to work and contribute at this level. This means, that in some cases you need to look away from national interests and recognize that the mandate given from this assembly is to protect and serve the interest of the IIHF and to grow international ice hockey.”

Click here for the list of candidates.

With regards to the upcoming Olympics in Sochi 2014, the President said that he was hoping for a fifth straight Olympic ice hockey tournament for which the NHL would take a break to release players and make them available to their respective national federations.

“After I was elected in 1994, we have had four consecutive best-on-best Olympics,” said Fasel recollecting Nagano 1998, Salt Lake City 2002, Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010. “I stay optimistic about Sochi 2014, but as we know the NHL and their players’ association are in negotiations and before they have reached a new bargaining agreement we will not be able to say much about their participation. But we know that the players want to play.”

Fasel also took the opportunity to praise the Finnish Ice Hockey Association for their hosting of the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and how well they utilized all the revenue streams available for a host organizer.

“The Finnish part of the event generated revenue of over 27 million Euro and the cost side was slightly over 19 million Euro. This effectively means that the net profit for the Finnish federation was over 8 million Euro,” reported Fasel.

“Once this was in the books, the federation decided how to use the money. Without going into details, 90 per cent of the profit goes into youth hockey while 10 per cent will be used for infrastructure projects in the Vierumäki development centre and in other regional funds. Part of the 90 per cent will go into employment of 25 so called skill coaches who will work according to a plan to improve the level of fundamental hockey skills in clubs for the upcoming ten years.”

Fasel concluded:

“The reason why I say this is to point out that, the World Championships is an attractive event and – when all potential revenue streams are utilized in a proper way – it is good business for the hosting country or countries. By allocating the profit in this way as shown by the Finnish federation, you can improve and grow ice hockey in your country for the next decade.”

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