International Ice Hockey Federation

Fasel, Tardif meet the press

Fasel, Tardif meet the press

Paris going well, Olympics on the brain

Published 09.05.2017 15:46 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Fasel, Tardif meet the press
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 9: (Left to right) IIHF Tournament Chairman Frank Gonzalez, IIHF President Rene Fasel, President of the French Ice Hockey Federation Luc Tardif, and Manager of the French Ice Hockey Federation Eric Ropert speak at a press conference at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
The Paris organizing committee gave two thumbs up to French fans after the first week of games at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

Eric Ropert, Luc Tardif, Frank Gonzalez, and Rene Fasel took the podium this afternoon in Paris to discuss the first week of play at the World Championship, giving positive reviews for all aspects of the games so far.

“It is a great challenge for us to host,” Ropert noted, “because we are a small hockey country. But for a secondary venue, our first week was very good if you compare to previous years at the second venue.”

Tardif agreed. “We had more than 80,000 fans our first week, and we estimated we’d have 220,000 during the tournament. Now, I believe we will exceed that number, which is fantastic.”

Fasel turned historian during his opening remarks and pointed out that this France-Germany cooperation is not the first time the IIHF has experienced dual hospitality at the World Championship.

“In 1930, the World Championship started in Chamonix,” the IIHF President noted, “but because of bad weather the gold-medal game was moved to Berlin. Canada beat Germany, 6-1, that year.”

Gonzalez, the tournament chairman for Paris, was enthusiastic for the IIHF’s decision to award the hosting to Paris. “We’re in the right city,” he declared. “The support here has been tremendous. We’re where we want to be.”

The elephant in the room—in every room Fasel occupies these days—was NHL Olympic participation, and the IIHF President redoubled his determination to do what it takes to get the best players in PyeongChang next year.

“I am always a positive person,” he began. “I never give up. I have talked to Don Fehr, and we talk internally. We are trying to build a snowball to show Gary [Bettman]. It’s never too late. PyeongChang is in Asia, and this is a great opportunity to grow the game.”

Indeed, the distance between PyeongChang and Beijing is less than that between New York and Chicago.

“Going to Korea is a great opportunity for the NHL,” Fasel continued. “There is no better way to show the world how great hockey is than the Olympics. It is the biggest stage, three billion television viewers. If they don’t go, the fans aren’t happy; the players aren’t happy; the media isn’t happy.”

When matters got back to Paris, Rompert sounded optimistic that this year’s hosting is just a first step. “Paris is a big city, but it is cultural in a lot of ways that have nothing to do with hockey. Our goal is to get French media interested in the tournament. We’ve worked hard with the City of Paris, the French club teams, and social media. We’ve had a lot of activities. We’ re very pleased.”

You can watch the full press conference on our Facebook page.


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