Publisher: International Ice Hockey Federation, Editor-in-Chief: Jan-Ake Edvinsson Supervising Editor: Kimmo Leinonen Editor: Szymon Szemberg, Assistant Editor: Jenny Wiedeke
June 2004 - Vol 8 - No 3
There is nothing like the sweet taste of gold
Back in the April issue of this publication, I wrote that the 2004 IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic had the potential to be the best tournament ever. It proved to be a correct assumption. 552,097 spectators in Prague and Ostrava made this a festival which we will never forget.
RENÉ FASEL EDITORIAL
■ For some years now we have been contemplating
whether the record of 526,172 fans from Finland 1997 would ever be broken. And, finally, seven years later, the IIHF World Championship has a new attendance record. More than 25,000 spectators surpassed the previous mark.
Our new record figure of 552,097 means that an ave- rage of almost 10,000 spectators (9,859 to be exact) attended the 56 games of the 68th IIHF World Championship. This is a remarkable number and a testimony to the passion for our game in the Czech Republic. This was the ninth time that an IIHF World Championship was hosted in Prague, which now defi- nitely deserves to be called the unofficial capital of the tournament.
■ All this wouldn’t have been possible if not for the
Sazka Arena, which must rank among the top three or four ice hockey venues in the world today. The 17,300 seat state-of-the-art arena was everything we were hoping for in terms of spectator comfort as well as facilitating the needs of teams and officials. It was well worth waiting for.
This was also a landmark tournament for Canada. On May 7, the IIHF Congress in Prague allocated the 2008 IIHF World Championship to Quebec City and Halifax. It will be the first time ever that the IIHF’s showcase tour- nament will be played in the motherland of ice hockey and it will coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the IIHF.
The Canadians managed to carry the momentum over to the ice two days later as Canada won its 23rd IIHF World Championship gold medal. Again, just like one year ago in Finland, they did it by defeating Sweden in the final game. Also this victory carried historic conse- quence. Canada is now even with Soviet Union/Russia in the gold medal count, both at 23. Winning in both 2003 and 2004 was also Canada’s first back-to-back victory since 1958-1959.
■ This was the first year when the recently introdu-
ced IIHF World Ranking had an impact on the world championship and we can already see that it has brought good things to our game. The draw for Austria 2005, which was carried out in Innsbruck on May 12, was based on the 2004 IIHF World Ranking and it presented Vienna and Innsbruck next year with four
very well balanced groups. Continued on next page
Photo: JUKKA RAUTIO, Europhoto ALL THAT GLITTERS IS GOLD: Ryan Smyth is "Captain Canada" and the player who best personifies Canada's com- mitment to international hockey. This was Smyth's sixth consecutive IIHF World Championship, his fourth as captain, and it was the second time he led the team to the gold medal. Smyth also won gold in the 2002 Olympics as well as in the 1995 IIHF World U20 Championship. He also brought his team back into the game by scoring Canada’s first goal as Sweden jumped to a 2-0 lead. Here, Smyth cherishes the golden moment with Isabella Smyth, 10 months.