MOSCOW, September 22. / TASS /. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday expressed his gratitude to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), stressing that it can always count on Russia’s support and cooperation.
“I would like to thank the international federation for their constructive cooperation and constant trust,” Putin said in his welcome message to participants of the IIHF Congress, which is currently taking place in Russia’s second largest city, St. Petersburg.
“You have chosen Russia more than once to host [IIHF] World Championships and this is particularly meaningful for and appreciated by Russian society, âsays Putin’s statement, published on the Kremlin’s official website.
“We look forward to the [IIHF] Junior World Championship, which is expected to start at the end of the year in Novosibirsk and Omsk, and on 2023 [IIHF] World Championship in St. Petersburg, “he said.
The Russian president also noted that “in terms of the implementation of its programs and projects, the federation can always count on Russia as a reliable partner and comrade to strengthen the world position of the sport of ice hockey and its popularization massive”.
Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports in Russia and the country has a right to be proud of its results on behalf of the national ice hockey school, according to Putin.
“This dynamic, spectacular and simply magnificent sport is one of the most popular, demanded and beloved sports. [in Russia]”Putin said.
“We [Russians] have a right to be proud of our glorious traditions and achievements on behalf of the National Ice Hockey School, as well as on behalf of our outstanding national players; and we are closely following the global developments in ice hockey, enthusiastically watching the games of all the ice hockey teams and playing games from us, “said the Russian president.
Putin added that, according to official data, last year more than 620,000 people officially played ice hockey in the country, including some 74,000 junior players, students of sports schools.
IIHF tournaments in Russia
In September 2018, the Russian city of St. Petersburg was chosen by the IIHF management to host the World Championship in 2023, setting the dates from May 5 to 21. The May 2019 IIHF Congress in Bratislava gave the green light to this decision.
The Russian bid offered two arenas in St. Petersburg to host the matches of the ice hockey world championship in 2023. One of them is currently under construction and when completed could become the largest arena in European ice with a capacity ranging from 21,500 to 23,000.
The other arena in St. Petersburg will be the Ice Palace, which is currently the stadium of the KHL club of SKA St. Petersburg and can accommodate over 12,300 seats.
The world ice hockey governing body also announced in 2018 that the Siberian cities of Novosibirsk and Omsk will be the site of matches for the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship (December 26, 2022 – January 5, 2023).