The organizers of the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship officially presented the logo during a press conference on April 11, 2023, thus initiating communications leading up to the 2024 IIHF WM. Petr Bříza, the President of the Organizing Committee of the Czech Ice Hockey Association for the 2024 IIHF WM, highlighted all the important topics that Czech fans are most interested in before the home championship.
The Czech Republic will host the eleventh IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. When and where will the tournament take place?
Petr Bříza: The top sixteen hockey national teams will compete for the world medals from Friday, May 10th, to Sunday, May 26th, 2024. Currently, only two arenas in the Czech Republic, Prague and Ostrava, meet the requirements for hosting the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, so the choice was clear. The Prague arena has a significant advantage in terms of capacity and the possibility of using congress areas as training halls. Unlike in 2015, we have raised the standard again by eliminating the need for players to travel to a different arena for practice. The ice rink will have slightly smaller dimensions, but we discussed this fact with all the teams, and they prioritized the arena's proximity to the hotel.
The press conference also included the presentation of the visual identity of the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. How do you personally like the smiling puck icon?
Petr Bříza: The process of creating the visual identity required a tremendous amount of work, and I am very pleased with the result. We first announced a tender for the creation of the entire visual identity and then selected the winners from the submitted proposals. The goal was to create a simple and easily memorable design that would convey the emotions and passion associated with hockey as much as possible. At the same time, we wanted to work with individual elements in further communication and on social media. I really like that we have created a series of "puck-icons" that we will continue to use, mainly in digital communication. The strong reaction to the logo and visual identity announcement confirms that the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will be an exceptionally watched event here. Especially from the professional public, we have received praise for the visual identity. We believe that the unveiling of the mascots, which we are preparing for the beginning of autumn, will also generate significant interest.
Ticketing is an important topic. Can you reveal when ticket sales will start?
Petr Bříza: The ticket sales are tentatively scheduled to start in the fall of this year. We are currently finalizing negotiations with ticket operators and arenas regarding the conditions and form of sales. Since it is the largest sports event that we have the opportunity to host in the Czech Republic approximately once every ten years, we want the Ice Hockey World Championship in Prague and Ostrava to be accessible to everyone according to their preferences. We will inform the public in a timely manner about the exact date of ticket sales. I recommend everyone to follow our social media channels.
At the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, the absolute attendance record was broken. Will you aim for this milestone again at the 2024 IIHF WM?
Petr Bříza: The attendance at the last "Czech" 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship was truly exceptional. We will do our utmost to come as close as possible to that and offer fans the best hockey experience. Fans from all over the world associate Prague and Ostrava with packed arenas and an unforgettable atmosphere. However, we are aware that the situation is different from 2015 IIHF WM, and it will be a significant challenge for us to successfully build upon the previous hosting. I would be delighted if this hockey celebration is remembered long after its conclusion.
How would you describe the current work of the organizing committee for the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship?
Petr Bříza: The first task for the organizer is to assemble a quality team that will contribute to the preparations. I am pleased that Vladimir Šafařík, who has experience in organizing top tennis events such as the Davis Cup or Laver Cup, holds the position of the General Secretary of the organizing committee. The personnel of the organizing committee are in place, and all members are already working intensively. We have completed the preparation of the logo for the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and have conducted several site visits. During this year's 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Tampere and Riga, we have the so-called Observer program ahead of us, which will allow us to gain valuable experience from the organizers.
What security measures are being planned for the event?
Petr Bříza: Everything is being intensively discussed within the Security Staff, which involves all components of the integrated emergency services. I am pleased that we have signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior, the Police Presidium, and the Fire and Rescue Service of the Czech Republic. Specific measures will be based on the security situation, which will be evaluated throughout this year and the next. The organizer's goal is to ensure a smooth passage to both arenas within the possibilities. Fans should be prepared for traditional checks when entering the arenas. We will strive for maximum speed and efficiency.
What do you have in store for the fans themselves?
Petr Bříza: Our priority is for the audience to leave the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship with the maximum spectator experience and to experience the event long before the opening faceoff. During the event, the hockey community can look forward to traditional diversions in the form of fan zones. We plan to build them in close proximity to both arenas so that fans do not have to travel long distances. Visitors to the games can then expect a rich accompanying program and show. We firmly believe that it will contribute to a fantastic hockey atmosphere and the good mood of everyone present. Another enhancement for the fans' enjoyment could be the arrangement of special trains, which we are currently discussing with transportation providers. During the 2024 IIHF WM, we want to offer fans maximum comfort and facilitate travel between Prague and Ostrava. The nearby train stations, which are within walking distance of both arenas, can also help with that.