BRATISLAVA – When Slovan Bratislava played Mountfield Ceske Budejovice in the last round of the Champions Hockey League, IIHF General Secretary Horst Lichtner also took the opportunity to look at the main venue for the 2011 World Championship.
Igor Nemecek, the General Secretary of the Slovakian Ice Hockey Federation, told Lichtner about the structure of the organization and how far the preparation for the 2011 Worlds has come. „Lichtner was especially interested in the status of the reconstruction of the arenas in Bratislava and Kosice,“ said Nemecek, who also announced that the organizing committee will start working in 2009.
The architect of the main venue was also on hand and presented the project and timetable of the reconstruction of the Ondrej Nepela Ice Rink. The arena is named after the former Bratislava-born figure skater, who won Olympic and World Championship gold in the 1970s.
The reconstruction of the home arena of Slovan Bratislava with costs of about €60 million is projected to begin just after the 2008-2009 season and should be completed by the end of 2010.
The capacity of the arena that was built in 1940 and reconstructed in the 1990s will be increased to more than 10,000 seats. The arena will have two new practice rinks, a new car park and also a hotel will be built nearby.
The organizing committee will inform the IIHF Council about the progress in March 2009 and later the IIHF Annual Congress, which will be held in Berne, Switzerland, during the 2009 World Championship.
Horst Lichtner assured that the IIHF is, if necessary, willing to help the Slovakian association in negotiations with authorities and institutions, in order for the reconstruction of the arena in Bratislava to proceed according to plan.