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The 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, Division I, Group A, opened in Bolzano

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The IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, Division I, Group A, was officially opened Saturday afternoon with an evocative opening ceremony at the Walther Arena in Bolzano. On stage, the great champions were the six participating national teams: South Korea, Japan, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Hungary, which from tomorrow until Saturday, May 4, will compete for one of the two places available for promotion to the top division.

Official greetings were given to the hundreds of fans who gathered in Walther Arena Harald StaderGovernorate advisor, Stefan ConderDeputy Mayor of Bolzano, Juri AndreoloSports Advisor of the Municipality of Bolzano, Heikki Hietanen, Member of the Board of Directors of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), Andrea Geus, President of FISG – Italian Ice Sports Federation (FISG) and Marcelo CopelliChairman of the organizing committee.

“This World Championship is very important for our county and our country. We can not only show our great sports facilities, but we can also show our care and dedication when organizing events. Moreover, we offer players and managers the opportunity to get to know our home ground,” said Harald Studer.

Stefan Konder noted that it had been 30 years since the last World Championship in Italy:

“At that time, Italy finished sixth in Serie A, which is the best result of our national team in an IIHF event. I hope this is also a good omen for the upcoming tournament.”

However, Yuri Andreolo said he was proud and happy

“This championship can be held in Bolzano. Many thanks to the Italian Ice Sports Federation for making this possible.”

Heikki Hietanen pointed this out

“It’s great to be here in Bolzano. In a week we will know who will go into the top flight and who will be relegated to Group B. I wish the fans a great World Championship, with many exciting matches.

Andrea Geos described Bolzano as

“The hockey city of Italy. We are proud to bring the World Cup to this city with a great hockey tradition. It is a great opportunity for our sport and I hope the fans of Bolzano and Alto Adige will come to the stadium to cheer on the team.”

But Marcelo Copelli talked about the preparations that were not easy.

“But we have received and are receiving great support: from the province, from the municipality of Bolzano, and of course from our countless collaborators. We have prepared this tournament together and I hope that now we can enjoy it,” said Copelli.

Afterwards, they were welcomed by mascot Slappy, as some of the Azzurri’s heroes from the 1994 World Cup took to the stage: Lucio Tobatti, Martin Pavlou, George Comploy, Roland Ramuser, Patrick Brugnoli, captain Robert Oberauch and then assistant coach Adolf Ensam. Some representatives of the then organizing committee were also welcomed.

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There was also space for an awards ceremony for the six U12 youth teams that played in the Alberia Junior World Cup, which was held at the Würth Arena in Egna on 6 and 7 April. The win went to South Korea, represented by Trentino I, while Italy took second place (Trentino II), while Romania took third place (Foxes Academy). Followed by Slovenia (HC Merano), Hungary (HC Igna/Ora Junior), and Japan (SV Caltern). The first was delivered by Andrea Geuss and Markus Matvei, member of the Alperia Board of Directors.

The highlight of the opening ceremony was the six participating national teams taking to the stage. At 6.20pm, Heikki Hietanen officially opened the Bolzano tournament.

The first match will be held tomorrow, Sunday, at 12:30 pm, between South Korea and Slovenia. After three and a half hours, Japan and Hungary will meet, while the first day of competition will end with a match between Romania and host Italy, scheduled for 7.30 pm.

Ticket sales are ongoing

Meanwhile, tickets continue to be sold for World Series games. Tickets can be purchased online (https://shop.midaticket.it/iihfwmia2024/EventsOn match days, an hour and a half before each match. Three ways to purchase: daily pass (three matches), for a single match or for the entire event (15 matches). Thanks to cooperation with the local public transport company, holders of a valid ticket to enter the Sparkasse Arena will be able to use public transport for free on the same day of the match.

The fan zone will open tomorrow

The fan zone will also be opened on day one in front of the Sparkasse Arena, which will keep its doors open on each match day from 11am until midnight. Expect lots of music, gastronomy, a trading platform, a children’s shooting area and a small skating area.

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Information, ticket purchases and calendar: www.iihf.com/en/events/2024/wmia

Image source: Vanna Antonello

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