IIHF holds press conference
by IIHF.com staff|26 MAY 2024
IIHF President Luc Tardif, IIHF Chairperson Marta Zawadzka, and Petr Briza, President of the 2024 WM LOC Prague, participate in a press conference at the 2024 Worlds in Prague.
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation / Chris Tanouye
“It’s a fantastic success,” IIHF President Luc Tardif told reporters. “It showed Czechia is hockey country.”

Tardif was referring to the record-setting tournament attendance of close to 800,000 at the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Prague and Ostrava. Yet that was just one of the elements that has made this 64-game extravaganza (10 to 26 May) one of the best-received international hockey tournaments in recent memory.

The IIHF held its traditional final-day press conference at the O2 Arena ahead of Sunday’s Sweden-Canada bronze medal game and the Switzerland-Czechia gold medal game.

Also representing the IIHF Council, the executive body of the International Ice Hockey Federation, were IIHF Chairperson Marta Zawadzka and Petr Briza, President of the 2024 WM LOC Prague.

Zawadzka and Briza were united in their praise for the professionalism and dedication of tournament organizers and the 700-odd volunteers.

“They created a perfect environment for the competition and for the spectators who are coming from around the world,” said Zawadzka. Briza likened his role to serving as the captain of a hockey team whose success stems from great teammates, adding: “It’s like a Hollywood movie that the Czech team is going to the final.”

Touting the newly adopted two-day format for the annual IIHF Hall of Fame ceremonies, Tardif singled out the Milestone Award that went to the 1998 Olympic gold-medal Czech team and the inductions of Jaromir Jagr and Jaroslav Pouzar as special highlights for Czech fans.

He also pointed to landmarks like Austria’s wild five-goal comeback against Canada and the longevity of Switzerland’s Andres Ambuhl, whose gold medal game appearance will mark his 141st Worlds game in his 19th WM, both all-time records.

“Hockey won – it doesn’t matter what the result of the final is,” Tardif said. “I’m sure we’ll have a great final.”

Responding to a journalist’s question about lower comparative attendance at the Ostrava quarter-finals and the second Prague semi-final, Briza noted that this is a challenge for any international tournament where the medal round begins two days after playoff pairings are finalized. He added that this year international hockey legends like Finland’s Jari Kurri, Latvia’s Sandis Ozolinsh, and Slovakia’s Marian Hossa were enlisted to promote Czechia as both a sports and tourism destination.

Underlining the ongoing importance of the men’s World Championship, Tardif noted that it continues to provide the financial tools to organize other IIHF competitions in women’s, U18, and other categories. He also emphasized that the IIHF’s mandate is to build an international hockey calendar that takes into account not only the priorities of the IIHF, IOC, and NHL, but also the European leagues. 

The IIHF President concluded the press conference by inviting journalists to return in 2025 to provide high-level coverage of the IIHF Women’s World Championship in Ceske Budejovice. This will mark the first time that Women’s Worlds have ever taken place in Czechia.