Guests arrive for a welcome drinks reception at Basel Town Hall
photo: © Organizing Committee
The 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship is nearly upon us. Following months of preparations, the tournament gets underway on Thursday 20 April. A face-off of sorts took place late yesterday afternoon at Basel Town Hall that included representatives of local and cantonal government, the IIHF, Swiss Ice Hockey, the local organising committee and members of the ten teams taking part came together for a welcome drinks reception.
Dr Conradin Cramer, member of the Basel City Cantonal Council, officially opened the event. Looking out across the pristine hall, he declared: “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to learn more about ice hockey, even though being involved in politics can land you on thin ice”. The head of the Department for Education, which is also responsible for sport, welcomed those present to the sport-crazy city of Basel on behalf of the canton and region. “We are used to hosting major international sporting events. Having the best ice hockey players in the world in this age group here now is very exciting for us”, Cramer added.
Conradin Cramer, member of the Cantonal Council, delivers a welcome speech to guests
After the welcome speech by Cantonal Councillor Cramer, Peter Briza, Senior Vice President of the IIHF, addressed the guests. On behalf of the IIHF, tournament Chair Briza expressed his gratitude for the warm reception as well as the hard work put in by all involved over the last few weeks and months. “I am sure that the stage is set for a fantastic tournament”, the Czech said.
Last, but not least, Michael Rindlisbacher, President of the Swiss Ice Hockey Board of Directors, said a few words: “It is a great honour for us to welcome you all to Switzerland and to be able to host this tournament”. Above all, Rindlisbacher was keen to thank the numerous volunteers as well as the organising committee. “You have all done a magnificent job under the leadership of Peter Lüthi to ensure everything is ready for Thursday”, Rindlisbacher stated.
Conradin Cramer, Michael Rindlisbacher and Petr Briza in conversation
The tournament begins on Thursday 20 April at 14:30 with the opening game between Canada and Sweden in Porrentruy. The action in Basel starts shortly afterwards at 16:00 with the opening game in group B between the USA and Latvia. Host nation Switzerland make their World Championship debut on Thursday evening at 8 pm when they take on Finland.