After a welcome by IIHF President René Fasel, IIHF General Secretary Horst Lichtner talked about the operational work conducted by the IIHF during the last months, including:
- The creation of an Event Tracker with live updated status changes for the events on a daily basis
- A COVID-19 Expert Group with members from different areas to discuss the status of events
- Latest updates from the summer IIHF Council meetings
- A risk analysis and situational report from the IIHF Finance Committee
“We have on one hand a financial challenge and are on the other hand still living with the COVID-19 situation. Many countries have restrictions, some even local lockdowns. And the specialists say that the situation can become even more difficult in the upcoming months. And as you know we also have some political challenges with the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship since the presidential elections in Belarus and we really hope that the situation will improve in the upcoming months,” Fasel said.
“We will play the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in a bubble without spectators and are working very closely with Hockey Canada to be able to play this championship without any problems. The NHL had very successful Stanley Cup playoffs in Edmonton and Toronto,” he added and congratulated the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won the Cup last night.
Earlier this month the IIHF had to cancel all other tournaments that were scheduled between September and February due to the COVID-19 pandemic and measures against it in most of the countries including restrictions in travel and event organization.
An exception was the Olympic Qualification for women’s ice hockey in Beijing 2022 where the tournaments have not been cancelled but postponed with the new dates to be determined.
Franz Reindl explained the situation after a meeting of the Competition & Coordination Committee.
“We have to find new dates to play and we were asked to review all the possibilities,” Reindl said. “We want a sportive solution. To just go by the IIHF Women’s World Ranking would be the last possible solution.”
Pushing a big red button, Fasel ceremonially launched the IIHF Development Hub on IIHF.com where over 100 people worked on a new online development project designed to help the IIHF member national associations with nearly all aspects of program development. “It is a set of resources for our Member National Associations but also clubs, coaches, players, parents and many more,” IIHF Sport Director Christian Hofstetter said when explaining the project to the membership.
The main areas are the Player Development Guide, which includes the Drill Hub with over 500 drills illustrated in graphics and videos, Player Recruitment, Learn to Play, Coaching and Development Programs. IIHF Membership Development Manager Aku Nieminen guided the membership through some pages but just have a tour yourself. You can access the IIHF Development Hub through the menu or by entering development.iihf.com.
In a Question & Answer session members and organizers spoke up and asked questions about the current situation. A common message to the IIHF was that they appreciate the decision to make tournament cancellations early in advance as it happened earlier this month rather than too close to the tournament to minimize costs for the teams and organizers in a situation that is challenging for all ice hockey organizations.
The IIHF plans another Council meeting and another virtual information session with its membership later this year.