MOSCOW, September 22. /TASS/. President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Rene Fasel has made an outstanding contribution to the development of the sport of ice hockey around the globe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.
"I would also like to highlight the work of the federation’s president, Honorary Mister [Rene] Fasel, whom I met personally on numerous occasions," Putin said in his welcoming message to the participants of the IIHF Congress, which is currently underway in Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg.
"He is an extremely responsible, competent, energetic and open person, who is distinguished not only for his brilliant organizing talent and his enormous experience, but for his sincere passion for the game of ice hockey," Putin’s statement, posted on the Kremlin’s official website, reads.
The Russian president also stated that Fasel’s contribution to the promotion of ice hockey on the global arena was the more than any of his predecessors.
"There has never been such an upsurge of the interest in the sport of ice hockey around the globe," Putin said.
IIHF President Rene Fasel
Rene Fasel, 71, first revealed his intention not to run for another presidential term in November 2017, and in October 2018, he confirmed to TASS that he would vacate the post after the IIHF Congress elects a new president in September 2020. However, the IIHF Congress was moved to a later date due to the global spread of the novel coronavirus.
Fasel’s current presidential term officially expired in May 2020, but his mandate is valid until the next election, which is scheduled to be held at the IIHF Congress in September this year in Russia’s second-largest city of Saint Petersburg.
The Swiss-born former dentist with a gift for languages and a deep passion for ice hockey was first elected to run the world’s governing body of this sport in June 1994. He was re-elected for a sixth presidential term at the 2016 IIHF General Congress in Moscow.
IIHF tournaments in Russia
In September 2018, the Russian city of St. Petersburg was chosen by the IIHF management to host the world championship in 2023, scheduling the dates on May 5-21. The May 2019 IIHF Congress in Bratislava greenlighted this decision.
The Russian bid offered up two arenas in St. Petersburg to host the matches of the ice hockey world championship in 2023. One of them is currently under construction and once completed it may become the biggest ice arena in Europe with capacity seating ranging between 21,500 and 23,000.
The other arena in St. Petersburg will be the Ice Palace, which is currently the home stadium for KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg club and boasts an over 12,300-seat capacity.
The world’s governing body of ice hockey also announced in 2018 that the Siberian cities of Novosibirsk and Omsk would be the venues for matches of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship (December 26, 2022 - January 5, 2023).