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World Ice Hockey Championship organizers wished luck to Kazakhstan

17 february 2012, 18:32
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An Angry HockeyBird became the symbol of 2012 World Hockey Championship. ©Danial Okassov
An Angry HockeyBird became the symbol of 2012 World Hockey Championship. ©Danial Okassov
Kimmo Leinonen, Marketing Director of 2012 World Hockey Championship organizing committee. ©Danial Okassov
Kimmo Leinonen, Marketing Director of 2012 World Hockey Championship organizing committee. ©Danial Okassov
Kimmo Leinonen wished good luck to Kazakhstan team. ©Danial Okassov
Kimmo Leinonen wished good luck to Kazakhstan team. ©Danial Okassov
World Ice Hockey Championship organizers wished luck to Kazakhstan. Kimmo Leinonen, Marketing Director of 2012 World Ice Hockey Championship organizing committee arranged a special visit to Astana city to make a presentation of the forthcoming tournament that will be simultaneously held in Finland and Sweden, Tengrinews.kz reports.

Kimmo Leinonen presented two groups both of which include eight teams that will take part in the final stage of the Championship. Finland, Canada, Switzerland, Slovakia, Belarus, France and the USA will play in the same group with Kazakhstan. “Being Finn we’d surely like Finland to keep the leading place after the first round, but we would also like to see Kazakhstan at a high place. I’d like to wish Kazakhstan team good luck in the World Ice Hockey Championship,” the Championship organizing Committee representative said.

According to Leinonen it took a long time to persuade the Championship’s participants to accept the new format of the tournament. “In terms of sport justice this system will be fairer. All teams play against each other and the results define who is the best at the stage. With the old system when there were four subgroups a team could stay in the group even with only one victory. Now the new system is more convenient for audience and journalists, because the time of the matches have already been settled. They know which team plays against which and when. Every team has at least seven matches to show their best game. They have an additional opportunity to catch hold of a score,” Leinonen said.

This year the Championship is held by the new scheme. It will take place in two countries – Finland and Sweden - simultaneously. These two countries will host the next 2013 Championship as well, in line with the arrangements made by the International Ice Hockey Federation. So, if this year the semi-finals and finals will be played in Helsinki than the next year the finals will take place in Stockholm.

Two groups including eight teams each will take part in the tournament. Kazakhstan will play in the first group and its matches will be held in Finland. The second group consisting of Sweden, Russia, Latvia, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Italy and the Czech Republic will play in Sweden. The Championship will last for 17 days with two days off. According to the new rules four best teams from each group will reach the quarter-finals and play against each other. There is one more new development in this tournament: there will be no top division play-off matches between teams at the fifth, sixth and seventh places correspondingly. Two teams getting the worst scores will move to the first division automatically.

Finns and Swedes are going to break the world record by the number of the fans that will attend the event. At present Czech Republic is keeping the first place on attendance. 552 thousand fans all together visited 2004 World Ice Hockey Championship. “We are expecting that 350 thousand fans will come to the stadium in Helsinki and 350 thousand in Stockholm,” Leinonen said. He explained that it became possible to gather so many people thanks to hosting the matches in two countries and increasing the total number of the games played at the tournament. The organizing committee representative added that both countries are ready to host the fans from other countries, but advised them to hurry up and book hotels, because large international fairs will be held in Helsinki on the same days.

As for the expenses of the Championship, maintenance of security was the most expensive thing in the events of such level, according to Kimmo Leinonen. “this is the most costly article of the event. The World Championship Organization incomes is about 20 million euro and the expenses make 10 million euro,” he said.

An imaginary character named the HockeyBird, the prize-winner as the Most Popular Toy of the year, will be the symbol of the forthcoming competition. Besides, every team will have their own individual mascot, so called Northern Stars with their own colors that correspond to the national flag colors.

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