When René Fasel became Dr Sabetzki's successor as IIHF President, the world federation steeped in tradition entered a new era. The new President was anxious to establish a closer contact with the professional organizations in North America and consolidated the relations between IIHF and NHL. It is thanks in no small part to René Fasel's efforts that in 1998, at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, the NHL’s top professional players competed for the first time at an Olympic Games. The integration of In-Line Hockey into the IIHF and the foundation of the European Hockey League were other long-term projects realized during Fasel's presidency.
In June 1995, René Fasel was appointed, as the very first ice hockey representative in history, to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In 1997, he was commissioned by the IOC to compile a study on the dental treatment of Olympic athletes at the University of Barcelona. He earned the doctor's degree for his work in 2008.
Fasel served as the President of the Association of the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) between 2002 and 2014. He was also named the chairman of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics Co-ordination Committee.
Fasel served for two four-year terms (2008-2016) as winter sports representative on the IOC Executive Board. The executive board is the highest body within the IOC and assumes the ultimate responsibility for the administration of the IOC.
AwardsIn 2004, Fasel was given the prestigious Legion of Honour Award which is the highest award given by the French Republic for outstanding service to France. Also in 2004, Fasel was awarded the Ukrainian VIZHIBU prize for significant contribution to the development and popularisation of ice hockey. In 2008, Fasel received the Special Award of the Swiss Association, which honours personalities for extraordinary contributions to Swiss ice hockey. In 2011, Russia awarded him the Order of Friendship of Peoples by Russia, the highest Russian award that can be presented to a foreigner.
Photo by Gaetan Bally / Keystone