Together for 2017
Together for 2017
Germany and France get ready for action
From Asterix and Obelix to a legend of German hockey, the organisers of the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship have brought together an impressive team to promote next year’s event in Cologne and Paris.
The popular cartoon characters are set to be the mascots for the competition, with the organizers hoping that their fighting spirit in the face of the seemingly invincible Roman Empire can inspire the underdogs of world hockey to overcome the traditional powerhouses of the game.
But if the sponsors have a Gallic flavour, the tournament’s official logo pays tribute to one of Germany’s most inspiring players, goalkeeper Robert Muller.
Franz Reindl, President of the German Ice Hockey Association and head of the 2017 Organizing Committee, told reporters in Moscow that the choice of logo was a not easy.
“This is a tribute to a player who was taken from us too soon,” he said. “We agreed this logo with our colleagues from France and it’s a great way to remember a player and look forward to the World Championship.”
Muller was a double German champion, but remarkably he won his third title with Adler Mannheim in the 2006/07 season after he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in November 2006. Despite enduring an intense course of treatment he recovered in time to play in the All-Star game in February 2007 and regained his place on the national team in the 2008 Skoda Cup. Sadly, his illness continued to develop and he was forced to quit the game in January 2009. He died in May 2009.
The willingness of the French to devote one of the championship’s key images to a German player is typical of the spirit of cooperation between the co-hosts.
“We are two nations but we are one host,” said Henner Ziegfeld, General Secretary of the Organizing Committee. “That’s what we are trying to sum up in our slogan, ‘Together for 2017’.”
For France, this event is a chance to share in Germany’s experience of staging the championship in 2010 and play its role in welcoming the best hockey nations in the world.
“I’d like to thank the IIHF for giving this opportunity to a country like us,” said Luc Tardiff, President of the French Ice Hockey Federation. “It would be a bit too much for us to welcome 16 teams on our own but now we can share the experience of our partner.
“I think this will show a way forward for other countries like France.”
The tournament will take place in Cologne’s Lanxess Arena and the recently refurbished Palais Omnisports Bercy in Paris. The two venues offer a total of 886,000 tickets for the 64 games of the championship, an IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship record. In Paris, where the recently refurbished venue holds 14,500 fans, the organisers will have the biggest ever secondary venue for the competition. While the attendance record of 741,690 set in the Czech Republic in 2015 could be threatened, the organizers say that selling 600,000 tickets would see the tournament break even.
Tickets are already on sale, with packages available via the official tournament website at www.iihfworlds2017.com. In the first phase, packages are available for all the games at each venue (34 in Cologne, including the semi-finals and medal games, 30 in Paris). There are separate offers for the two group stages or the final rounds. The average price per game in the group stage package works out at just €15.
The bullet train Thalys, an official partner of the organizer, connects the cities in three-and-a-half hours so fans, participants and media can travel comfortably between the two cities.
The tournament runs from 5 to 21 May 2017. The group phase and quarter-final games will be shared between the two host cities, while the final stages will be in Cologne.
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