Meet the Candidates
by Adam Steiss|21 SEP 2021
The race is on to see who will occupy the president's chair in the IIHF Council. 
For first time in 27 years, a new IIHF President will be elected this week as the 2021 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress gets set to begin in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Among the potential successors to incumbent president René Fasel are five candidates, each of whom are vying to become the IIHF’s first new president since 1994.

Each of these candidates have prior experience working at the IIHF executive level, having served at least one Council term, along with experience working in international ice hockey at the Member National Association and club levels.

Following a summer of campaigning, the candidates will make their presentations to the Congress on Friday 24 September. The next day, Congress will elect a new IIHF President, together with a new Council (you can view all IIHF Council candidates here). spoke with all five candidates to get an overview of their election platform and reasons for seeking election to become the next IIHF President. 


Born: 12 July 1966 in Herning, Denmark

IIHF roles:
IIHF Council Member (2012-2021)
Chairman: IIHF Medical Committee (2013-2021)
Member: Facilities & Environment Committee (2010- 2012)
Member: Facilities Committee (2008-2010)

Candidate Website: LINK

Bio: A leading figure in Denmark’s sport industry, Henrik Bach Nielsen served as a board member of Danish ice hockey club AaB Aalborg for five years (2000-2005) before being elected to the Board of the Danish Ice Hockey Association. In 2007, he was elected President of the Danish Ice Hockey Association and still holds that position today (re-elected in 2021). 

Under Bach Nielsen’s leadership, Danish ice hockey has grown both on and off the ice. Its membership and revenues have steadily increased and the results of the men’s national team have improved to the point where Denmark is now competing at the highest level on the world stage. He played a leading role when the IIHF World Championship was successfully hosted in Denmark for the first time in 2018 and in the successful co-hosting application with Sweden for the 2025 IIHF World Championship.
In June 2021, the Danish Ice Hockey Union won the ‘Danish Federation of the Year’ award, presented at the Danish NOC Congress in recognition for the federation’s achievements. His candidacy for IIHF President is fully supported by the Danish NOC.

Bach Nielsen studied Political Science and has held executive positions in a major Danish broadcaster company. He is now the owner and President of a Danish real estate development company.

Why did you decide to run for IIHF President?

At 55 years old, I now have both the experience and the energy needed to serve as the next IIHF President.
Professionally, I am an ambitious businessman. My company is on track with a strong management team in place. This leaves me with time to increase my role in the IIHF leadership.
Personally, I am a dedicated family man. We are a hockey family. My wife and I have happily raised three sons and watched as they have developed as young men and high-level hockey players. With the children now fully grown, I can put the energy used to raise our boys into the growth and development of international ice hockey. 

Now is the right time for me. I believe that it is also the right time to have a fresh approach to IIHF leadership.

What is the major platform of your campaign?

For too long, international ice hockey has been relying on only a few nations to carry us. They have done a great job but looking ahead at the next chapter of the IIHF, I believe it is the right time for us to truly become a global sport. I believe it is time to dramatically expand the number of countries competing on a high level and able to host our events.
To do this, we need to break down the barriers that have traditionally stopped the growth of our sport in so many countries. We must break down the structural, financial and mental barriers that are holding ice hockey back.

While we must continue to support the growth of our current leading nations, we must accelerate the development of many other nations. I have a plan to get us there.


Born: 9th December 1964 in Prague, Czechoslovakia
(Czech Republic)

IIHF roles:
IIHF Council Member (2012-2021)
Chairman-IIHF Youth & Junior Development Committee (2016-2021)
Member-IIHF Co-ordination Committee (2013-2016)

Candidate Website: LINK

Bio: Graduated from the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport at Charles University in Prague. As a professional hockey player, Briza has played 1025 games during his 23 years professional career in three top elite European hockey leagues, winning multiple Goalie/Player of the Year awards in all of those. Briza has also represented his country in seven IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships and three Olympic Winter Games, winning bronze at the 1992 Winter Olympics with Czechoslovakia.
After finishing his career as a goalie in 2006, Briza immediately started work as General Manager of the hockey club Sparta Prague and later became the Chairman of the Board and franchise owner. He left the organization in 2019 and since 2020  he is fully in service of Czech Ice Hockey Federation as its reelected vice president.

He was also very active, together with other founding colleagues, in setting up the league association Hockey Europe as well as the club competition European Trophy, which was succeeded by the Champions Hockey League where he served as a board member from 2013-2019.

In 2008 Briza became a member of the Executive Committee of the Czech Ice Hockey Association and then its Vice President. During the record-breaking 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in the Czech Republic, he was the Chairman of the Prague Organizing Committee. Since 2010 he also has served as Prague City Parliament member. As chairman of Sports committee  he initiated and systematically implemented projects supporting youth sport development in Prague.

Since 2008 he was a Czech delegate in IIHF, 2012-2016 member of IIHF Competition a Coordination committee and since 2016 IIHF Council member. Chairman of Youth and Junior Development Committee.

Why did you decide to run for IIHF President?

Ice Hockey has been my life since I was a kid.  I have been lucky enough to fulfill a dream by having a career as a professional player. I was able to participate in top level competitions playing both on the same team and in opposition to some amazing players. Then my life journey took me down a completely different path as a top manager in hockey.

This priceless experience came from a club with more than 100 years of history, a national hockey federation and finally the IIHF, which I consider the top of the pyramid. Each new experience over the years helped me to become a better diplomat and leader and to understand the hockey environment more deeply.

Since 2016, I have had the honour to serve on the IIHF Council. The next decade will offer both a big challenge and a big opportunity. I am energised, have all the necessary knowledge, and am well prepared to dedicate myself to the service of the entire IIHF hockey family.

What is the major platform of your campaign?

The essence of my campaign is a sincere belief that a good leader connects and does not dictate.

In my understanding…Today’s leader takes personal responsibility for actions, but also believes in the word WE. By focusing on us, not, just me, the IIHF will have a new way to develop and grow our game.
WE will be specific in our goals and be committed to achieve them. WE will have the courage to measure ourselves annually and be resilient in constant improvement.

WE for me means trusting in coordinated regional cooperation, with a guiding hand from Zurich, so that our sport attracts more participants and fans and our events, with new formats and media platforms, drive interest year in and year out. Each of us brings skills to the table and can share in long term sustainable success. WE will reinvest in the sport so that everyone can benefit. WE are Ice Hockey.


Born: 30 September 1983 in Chemnitz, Germany

Previous IIHF roles:
IIHF Council Member (2016-2021)
Chairman-IIHF Officiating Committee (2016-2021)
Member-IIHF Event Committee (2008-2016)

Candidate Website: LINK
Bio: Sergej Gontcharov was born in Chemnitz, Germany, on September 30th, 1983. Elected to the IIHF Council in 2016. He studied international sports management at the ISW Business School in Freiburg in Breisgau, Germany, and graduated with an international sports management diploma.
He was an assistant to the general manager for the Russian Ice Hockey Federation from 2004 to 2007 and a team staff member at four IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships, three IIHF World Junior Championships and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Between 2007 and 2011 he was the General Secretary of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Association. He led the successful bid to host the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk, managed National League competitions, and organized several major events including the 2010 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Minsk and the KHL All-Star Game 2010.
He was involved in the building of the Dynamo Minsk team and in the negotiation process of its joining the KHL, assisted in the construction and running of the 15,000-seat Minsk Arena. He also acted as a team leader for the national team at several IIHF World Championships and the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
In 2011 he took the lead of the Lviv 2022 Olympic Winter Games bid. In his capacity as the bid CEO and Adviser to Mr. Sergei Bubka, Ukrainian NOC President and IOC Executive Board member, Gontcharov oversaw coordination among numerous stakeholders, cooperation with the International Olympic Committee and Sports Federations, as well as creation of strategical and operational concepts and long-term development plans for Winter Sports and Tourism. 
He has been closely involved with the Olympic Movement and international sports industry as an independent adviser on various projects and campaigns, participating in high-profile workshops and conferences on Olympic Games and International Federations Management, as well as major sports events. He was also a member of the World Athletics International Relations Commission.
In November 2014 he returned to the Belarusian Ice Hockey Association as an advisor and was elected as Vice President of the Board in May 2016.
He was part of the IIHF Negotiation Group for evaluating prolongation of the agreement with the IIHF Commercial Partner, has been actively involved with developing the Unified Rule Book, and introducing the more transparent process of Licensing and Nominating Game Officials.
Why did you decide to enter the race for the IIHF?
We are presented with a great opportunity to work together to shape the future of ice hockey and choose next progressive steps in our development. It is an honor for me to contribute to initiating and debating new ideas, concepts and visions.
I am old enough to have 20 years of professional involvement within ice hockey, the Olympic Movement and other sports; but young enough to understand the next generations’ needs, linking the past, present and future.
I grew up in ice hockey and went all the way from being just a big fan, when I had my first behind-the-scenes glimpse of the IIHF World Championship in 1993, to majoring in sports management, becoming General Secretary of the national federation to being elected the IIHF Council Member.
The wide range of responsibilities equipped me with detailed knowledge, management competence and valuable connections needed to oversee successful operations and development of a major international sports organization.
I am as motivated and devoted as ever to use all my energy, expertise and leadership skills to Create the Future Now for ice hockey and its every stakeholder.
What is the major platform of your campaign?
Creating the Future Now means choosing the way forward. If we want a bright future, we need to initiate projects today that will make us stronger tomorrow. Change for the sake of change is not the goal: we must evolve constantly and progressively.
Let us review the status quo, engage in true and inclusive debate, to ultimately benefit from a jointly approved action plan for our long-term future, meeting challenges of the dynamically evolving world.
Let us act creatively and courageously to make the IIHF a leading and progressive organization, always seeking new trends, opportunities and revenue streams.
Let us strengthen our resources to better serve the Membership in their development and individual needs. It will make our sport stronger globally if we stay committed to growing it regionally.
Let us strive to improve media coverage, events formats and commercial operations, as well as utilize new technologies to make ice hockey more diverse and attractive to existing and new fanbases and markets.
Let us preserve our core values and traditions while being open to innovative changes and growth.

Let us start Creating the Future Now!


Born: 24 November 1954 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Previous IIHF roles:
IIHF Council Member (2016-2021)
Chairman Competition & Co-ordination Committee
Co-chair: IIHF Competition and Inline Committee (
Member – IIHF Co-ordination Committee (2013-2016)
Member - IIHF Competition Committee (2008-2012)
Member - IIHF Sport Committee (1998-2008)
IIHF representative at Champions-Hockey League (CHL), elected CHL Vice-President (2018 – 2023)

Candidate Website: LINK

Bio: As a top player in Germany, Franz Reindl played 861 games, including 181 for the national team. He represented his nation in nine IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships, three Olympic Winter Games (winning Bronze in Innsbruck 1976) and one Canada Cup.

After ending his playing career in 1988, Reindl became a Head Coach and Manager with his hometown Club SC Riessersee, before joining the German Ice Hockey Association in 1991. First, he was an assistant to the technical director and national team assistant coach, working his way up to Sport Director, General Secretary and since 2014 as President. Under his leadership, German Hockey developed with enormously success, currently with all national teams competing at the highest IIHF level. Highlights include the men’s national team winning a Silver medal at PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games and improving the IIHF World Ranking position from 13 to 5.

During his time with the German Ice Hockey Association Reindl led the national team as General Manager through 26 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships, six Olympic Winter Games and twice at the World Cup of Hockey.

In 1994, Reindl was appointed CEO of the newly-founded German league DEL. He was also the CEO of the Organizing Committee of the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Germany and France and served as General Secretary of the Organizing Committees of the 2001 and 2010 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships in Germany, including the unforgettable opening Game GER-USA in front of almost 79.000 spectators. In 2015, Reindl was named President of Team Europe for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey by the NHL and NHLPA.

Why did you decide to run for IIHF President?

I have dedicated my life to Ice Hockey – first as an athlete and Olympian, and more recently as President of the German Federation and IIHF Council Member. The world of Ice Hockey has shaped me to be the person I am today so it is my greatest honour to stand for IIHF Presidency.
I am standing because I believe I have something unique and compelling to offer global Ice Hockey – through all the experiences and expertise I have gained as a player, coach and sports leader.
It is now my turn to give back to the game I love and deliver even greater results for IIHF and all 81 National Federations so each one can benefit from the growth and development of the sport. If we work together with strong values, principles and integrity, I am convinced that Ice Hockey will enter a new era with a bright and exciting future.

What is the election platform of your campaign?

Ice Hockey has enjoyed good times but fresh leadership is needed as we look forward to the future and a new era. My vision focusses on expanding Ice Hockey to new markets, increasing participation, engaging new, younger audiences, promoting gender equality, embracing innovation to improve our global marketing and digital offering, and harnessing the power of data in an ethical way to understand and grow our fan base.
 There is so much untapped potential in our sport and I will implement new commercial ideas and sponsor opportunities so all National Associations can benefit from greater revenues and funding.
If I have the great honour of being elected President, I will ensure IIHF is an inclusive, dynamic and fair organization that works in the very best interest of all National Associations, no matter how big or small. I will always put Ice Hockey first.


Born: 29 March 1953 in Trois-Rivières, Canada

IIHF roles:
IIHF Council Member (2012-2021)
IIHF Treasurer (2012-2021)
Chairman-IIHF Finance Committee (2016-2021)
Member-IIHF Competition Committee (2008-2012)

Candidate website: LINK
Bio: Tardif played ice hockey in his native country from age 3 to the university level. He came to Europe in 1975 where he played in Brussels (Belgium) before moving to France in 1978 to play for Chamonix and later Rouen. Tardif won a total of six national championships while playing in both countries. He then chose to stay in Europe and became a major figure in the development of French ice hockey.

After his player career, the dual Canadian-French citizenship holder was in charge of Rouen’s youth ice hockey program for several years. In 2000, he was appointed head of the ice hockey department at the French Ice Sports Federation. In 2006, he founded and was elected as first President of the newly-created French Ice Hockey Federation, a position he was re-elected for in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

A former IIHF Competition Committee member, Tardif is also closely involved in the French Olympic Committee and was named Chef de Mission of the French delegation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. He also served on the bid committee for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, and as President of the Multi-Federations Commission from 2008 to 2012. Tardif was also recently elected to the French Olympic Committee board in June 2021.

In addition to his duties as an IIHF Council Member, Tardif also took over the role of IIHF Treasurer in 2012 and has held that position ever since. Tardif also sits on the IIHF Executive Committee.
Why did you decide to run for IIHF President?

It took a long time to convince myself to be candidate for IIHF President. To be a potential successor of Mr Fasel after 27 years of successfull presidency, it requires reflection. The bar is high, the task is huge.

But my global experience, my perfect knowledge of MNA’s reality, my strategic task of treasurer since 2012 and my presence on the IIHF Executive Committee took me to the heart of IIHF operation : successfull negotiation of the Infront marketing contract till 2033 and with the IOC for the Olympic support each Olympic cycle or the possible presence of NHL players, contract with Hockey Canada for the U20 and World Women or other usual sponsors.

For all these reasons, I am now confident and ready to take up this fantastic challenge. My priorities will be to succesfully restart OF our usual activities after Covid-19 and above prepare the IIHF of tomorrow and after tomorrow.
What is the major platform of your campaign?
Beyond a clear vision, strong convictions, solid and ethical values, leadership ability, a good President has to listen and understand MNA’S need, small or big federations. I started a CO-CONSTRUCTION process ending late August with Zoom calls to boost reflection and favour consultation and dialogue with each MNA. These meetings will give me the concern of all, will feed and complete my basic program, officially presented on 6th September. It was the result of 90 hours of consultations, touching 95% of the voting and nonvoting Federations.

 The new President will have to be the President of all Federations, over electoral consideration, guided by the general interest, and take strong decisions to prepare the IIHF of tomorrow and after tomorrow.

Major Platform
• At the heart of my concern: our Federations and Associations
• Safeguard the essential balance between high level and development. Everyone has their rights and duties.
• Keep the IIHF family together (President’s legacy)
• Prepare the IIHF of tomorrow and after tomorrow.
• Pursue and amplify the communication IIHF-MNA .
• Development of new programs: « IIHF coming to you »: «Flying coaches »
• Promote new Hockey format : 3X3, Fusion D1A-D1B , WC U18 , globally Women hockey
• fight strongly against threats to our sport : Doping , violence , match fixing , racisme ect.