BRATISLAVA – The four preliminary-round groups of the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia were allocated to the venues in Bratislava and Košice. It will be the most important sporting event in the country’s history. It will be the first IIHF World Championship hosted by the country and the third time the tournament comes to Bratislava.
Following the discussions between the IIHF, the World Championship marketing partner Infront Sports & Media, broadcasters and the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation, the Groups A and D were allocated to Bratislava which brings the host team Slovakia and the reigning world champion Czech Republic to the capital. The other groups will be played in Košice.
Bratislava was a secondary World Championship venue in 1959 and 1992 when the tournament was hosted by Czechoslovakia.
Russia, Slovakia, Germany and Slovenia (Group A), and Finland, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Denmark (Group D) will play their preliminary-round games in Bratislava’s new 10,000-capacity Ondrej Nepela Arena that will open its gates in November.
Canada, Switzerland, Belarus and France (Group B), and Sweden, the United States, Norway and Austria (Group C) will play in the 8,373-seat Ladislav Trojak Arena in Košice that was opened in 2006.
„The current world champion, the Czech Republic, the world ranking leader Russia and the home team of Slovakia will play in Bratislava. The fans in Košice can look forward to enjoying world-class teams like Canada, the United States and bronze medal winning Sweden,” said Igor Nemecek, the Chairman of the 2011 IIHF World Championship Organizing Committee.
“Although the World Championships have been to Bratislava before, it will mark the first time independent Slovakia will be hosting the IIHF’s flagship event,” said IIHF President René Fasel, who will visit Bratislava next week together with IIHF General Secretary Horst Lichtner. “It will also be somewhat of a jubilee event for us as the 2011 tournament will be the 75th World Championship,” said Fasel.
The 16-team event will start on April 29 and conclude with the gold medal game on May 15.
The best three teams of each preliminary-round group advance to the two Qualification Round groups and each team will play three more games at the same venue as in the Preliminary Round.
The game schedule will be determined later and ticket sales will open in autumn 2010.Click here for the 2011 IIHF World Championship website
with more news and information about the cities, venues and the tournament.Click here for the full 2011 IIHF World Championship program
with its 27 tournaments.