International Ice Hockey Federation

The world comes to Slovakia

The world comes to Slovakia

Slovakia is getting ready for an ice hockey celebration

Published 15.08.2018 08:56 GMT+4 | Author Martin Merk
The world comes to Slovakia
Slovakia welcomes the world during the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
The top ice hockey players are returning to Slovakia for the first time in eight years.

Bratislava and Kosice will be hosting the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship from 10 to 26 May and the ice hockey fever from 2011 will be back bigger, better – and louder – than ever!

The 2011 championship was the biggest sporting event in the country’s history. Some 406,000 spectators from all over the world attended the games at both ice rinks during the two-and-a-half weeks. Apart from the TV broadcasts across the planet, the games were also live-streamed in 114 more countries, from Andorra to Iran to Zimbabwe. All of Slovakia followed the tournament day by day and game by game with fervour.

The atmosphere was thrilling both at the ice rinks and the fan zones. “The atmosphere was exciting for the players as well as for the spectators coming from all over the world. There was real hockey fever in Slovakia, and I am glad we hosted such a successful tournament,” said former national team captain, Miroslav Satan, at the IIHF’s congress when the 2019 championship was assigned to Slovakia.

Next year’s games will be played at the same ice rinks as in 2011. The Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava has a capacity of almost 10,000, and at the Steel Arena in Kosice the number is 8,000. “We believe that the games will attract even more people than eight years ago. We are convinced there will be hockey fever again and that our country will once again earn a good reputation in the hockey world,” said Michaela Grendelova, the communication director of the organizing committee.

A year before the championship starts, both ice rinks will undergo an important upgrade. That applies to the boards, plexiglas and team dressing rooms. “We surveyed the ice rink in Bratislava with advisors last year during the 2017 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship, and we decided several areas needed to be improved before the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship,“ said the organisation committee director in Bratislava, Roman Stambersky. The refrigeration system at the Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava has already been replaced, and most of the rest of the ice rink maintenance should be finished by August.


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