IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship heads back to Czechia
by Organizing Committee|11 APR 2023

photo: Jan Beneš/2024 IIHF WM

The IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will return to the Czech Republic after nine years. The 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will be held in Prague and Ostrava from 10-26 May 2024. The Czech team will play in the Czech capital.

This will be the eleventh time that the Czech Republic has hosted the world’s premier ice hockey event. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) awarded the organisation to the Czech Republic on 24 May 2019 during the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey  World Championship in Bratislava. The Czechs will take over from Finland and Latvia, and the world’s best ice hockey players will once again compete for world medals in Prague and Ostrava in 2024. “Although there is still more than a year to go until the start of the competitions, the Organising Committee is already working hard on the preparations. Our goal is to come as close as possible to the very successful 2015 IIHF WM and to offer spectators an intense sporting experience. I am convinced that we will once again organise an unforgettable hockey event with a breath-taking atmosphere. We want it to be remembered long after it is over," said Alois Hadamczik, president of the Czech Ice Hockey Association.

After nine years, Prague and Ostrava again

The world's best ice hockey players will compete in Prague Arena with a capacity of almost 17,500 spectators and in Ostrava Arena with 8,800 seats. Both arenas hosted the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. "We have two ice hockey arenas that meet the requirements of the IIHF. So the choice was clear. At the same time, we will be able to draw on the experience of 2004 and 2015, when the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships were held at the same venues. The main advantage of Prague Arena is its capacity, even by world standards," said Petr Bříza, President of the Organising Committee of the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, presenting the two venues. This arena offers maximum comfort not only for the organisers, but also for the teams preparing for the games. Everything will take place under one roof, so we are meeting the highest requirements for the organisation of the 2024 IIHF WM," adds Vladimír Šafařík, General Secretary of the Organising Committee.

Ostrava Arena was also chosen to host the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship. "Ostrava is a city of sports. The Moravian-Silesian metropolis has a special place in the hearts of sports fans not only in connection with hockey. I am very happy that we will host the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship again. We will use our experience from previous events and I hope that we will be able to raise the level of organisation once again," added Aleš Pavlík, president of the Ostrava Organising Committee.

The home team will play all its games in Prague, just like nine years ago. "One of the highlights of every hockey player's career is standing on the ice with the captain's badge on his jersey -  and that at your home World Championship. The crowd will not let you breathe, the atmosphere will push you to perform to the maximum. For me personally, it was one of the strongest moments of my hockey career," recalls Jakub Voráček, captain of the Czech team at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

Game scheme

A total of sixteen national teams are divided into two groups in the Preliminary Round, where each team will meet. The top four ranked teams of each group advance to the quarter-finals that will be played cross-over. The first-placed team in each preliminary-round group plays the fourth-placed team of the other group, while the second-placed team plays the third-placed team of the other group.

Prague and Ostrava will see 28 games in the Preliminary Round and 2 quarter-finals. The Prague Arena will host both semi-final games, the bronze medal game and the final. This means that 34 games will take place in the Czech capital and 30 in the Moravian-Silesian metropolis. The exact composition of the teams will be known after the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Tampere and Riga in May, and the specific draw into two groups will then take place in autumn 2023.

The puck-shaped emoticon plays the main role in the graphic identity

In previous IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships, the logo was largely separated from the rest of the event's graphic identity. "Our vision was to create a design that conveys emotion and passion as much as possible. This is related to the unique hockey celebration in the minds and hearts of the fans,” says Martin Klčo, Marketing Director of the agency that created the graphic identity. The inspiration and core of the resulting shape is the puck, which is truly the main part of hockey. "The puck, the players, the fans, the Czech Republic. All of these are the beating heart of hockey during the Ice Hockey World Championship. These words are embodied both in the design of the puck icons and in the 2024 IIHF WM slogan Heart of the Game," says Martin Klčo. The national aspect is also symbolised by the Czech colours used in the logo.

Tickets on sale in autumn, organisers believe in high attendance

Tickets will go on sale in the autumn of 2023. The organisers are hoping to match the exceptional attendance of 2015, when a record number of spectators were present. "We want to make tickets available to as many hockey fans as possible and fill both arenas for all games, giving spectators the best hockey experience they can imagine. We are currently in negotiations with the ticket agencies and arena representatives about how the tickets will be sold. We will announce all the information in time, so I recommend following the official communication channels and social networks of the event," says Petr Bříza, President of the Organising Committee.

A value-added experience for fans

In addition to the sporting programme itself, the organisers want to focus on the experience of the show. "We want the spectators to have a special experience that is different from a normal ice hockey game," says Bříza. In the period leading up to the start of the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, the organisers are preparing a road show across the Czech Republic. "An important task is to increase interest in the championship and at the same time maintain close contact with fans," says Petr Bříza. In addition to the programme in the arenas, entertainment is also being prepared for spectators in the fan zones. "We want to build them in the immediate vicinity of both arenas so that no one has to travel any further. Another important component is that we are in discussions to have special train departures. We want to offer all fans maximum comfort during the 2024 IIHF WM and make travelling between Prague and Ostrava even easier," concludes Petr Bříza.

All information about the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship can be found on the website 2024.iihfworlds.com or on the official social networks.