Kosice Unhappy with Championship Schedule

June 16, 2010

Organizers in Kosice have voiced dissatisfaction in Slovak media over the schedule of the 2011 IIHF World Championship. Civic Association Kosice Arena, which supported the completion of the Kosice stadium, issued a statement in mid-June 2010 expressing dismay over the decision to play most games in Bratislava:

“The hockey public in Kosice, fans, city leaders and leaders of the civic association Kosice Arena wish to express their appallment over the way the WC 2011 Organizing Committee communicated and over the decision on the game schedule for the 2011 WC in ice hockey in Kosice. Over the last few years Kosice has held an unequivocal first place in the Slovak hockey charts and we have taken a position in the top 20 in Europe in the number of visitors. Conditions we offer meet the highest world standard, as confirmed by Mr. Fasel, IIHF President during his personal visit of the hall in June 2010. STEEL ARENA has been continually preparing for the world championship since its opening in 2006 – we have 300 hockey events and other cultural events behind us. The full operation of STEEL ARENA at the time of discussions was an important moment in the IIHF’s decision on holding the 2011 WC in Slovakia and the ARENA thus played an important role in gaining the hockey championship. The Organizing Committee of WC 2011 did not take these factors into account in deciding the game schedule and justified its decision with a reference to the distance between Bratislava and Kosice and effort to provide sufficient comfort for players. We understand that physical and psychological comfort before matches is extremely important for players but transfers of hockey players are a common occurrence. The decision of the OC WC 2011 on the game schedule is a great disappointment for the east of Slovakia and invalidates the efforts a work of a huge team of people. The announcement of the decision through the media creates an atmosphere of dishonor and disrespect of the position of the city of Kosice, its representatives and representatives of the business sector in eastern Slovakia. Kosice expected matches more attractive for visitors in terms of the number of accompanying fans but these matches are to take place in Bratislava, according to the present decision. In Kosice we have expended and continue expending great efforts to provide a high standard for fans, tourists and all hockey teams. Leadership of the Civic Association Kosice Arena informed of their strong dissatisfaction the director of the OC WC 2011 in Kosice Peter Handl and sent the OC WC 2011 an official letter with a request to reconsider the decision and change the game schedule of the WC 2011. Our minimum demand is to play one Slovakia game in the basic group in Kosice and at least two quarterfinal games. We believe that with some good will on the part of the organizing committee the negotiations on the game schedule can reopen and the decision can be revised to satisfy fans throughout Slovakia.”