In early August, I released my 1st Line – the five key priority areas that will be the focus of my first year, all centered around making ice hockey a truly global sport (you can download it here). I then spent these last weeks speaking with the leadership of MNAs around the world. I know this election is important to each of you and your time is valuable – so thank you for your feedback, your ideas, and your time.
From these discussions, it became even more clear to me that we have a big opportunity right in front of us that would tackle an issue that has been raised by many of you, and that would have a huge impact in breaking down the barriers to making our sport more global.
My Proposal: Starting from Division 1B and down (except the Senior Men’s 1B), the World Championships, in all categories, would be played once every second year. In years when it is not played, participating MNAs would receive direct development funds from the IIHF.
This proposal was unexpectedly tested due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as we had to cancel our World Championships in 2020 and participating MNAs instead received a lump-sum payment from the IIHF. The feedback was very positive and proved the potential success of this new model.
The IIHF is currently one of the only international sports federations that hosts World Championships, in all categories, every year. This creates a lot of playing opportunities for nations at all levels, but it also requires a lot of time, energy, and money for these same nations.
I said from the beginning of my campaign that I believe we need courage, energy and strong leadership if we want to move hockey forward. These weren’t just words. This proposal is a bold step but one I believe will have a positive impact for us all.
How would this proposal work?
♦ In the year when the World Championships aren’t played, each participating MNA would receive USD 40,000 for each tournament they participated in the previous year.
♦ This amount comes directly from IIHF to the MNAs – the funds come from the savings of not hosting as many tournaments every year.
♦ Only having a World Championship every second year would free up MNA resources – time, energy, and money – to focus on other development opportunities.
♦ The change in frequency of our World Championships would be implemented as soon as possible, ideally as soon as 2023.
♦ The top-levels would continue to play every year as these top-tier events are fundamental to our sport.
Let’s look at an example of the impact of this proposal for an MNA. Imagine a country that has five teams (Senior Men, Senior Women, U20 Men, U18 Men and U18 Women) that take part in a World Championships every year in a lower division. This means that every year the main focus of this MNA is to get these five teams to the respective World Championships, which leaves few resources available for other development initiatives. Under the new proposal, this MNA would continue to play at the international level every second year, while in the other year they would receive USD 200,000 for the development of ice hockey in their country.
This proposal isn’t about saving money or taking away playing opportunities. It is about freeing up resources – time, energy and money – for the long-term development of the MNAs and ice hockey globally. Another knock-on effect of the proposal would be the opportunity for the IIHF to increase the prize money for top divisions – to USD 10 million, an increase of 30% – as well as to introduce prize money for the top Senior Women Divisions, thus protecting the long-term success of our top events and top nations.
Let’s take a bold move to change how we do things so that together we can make ice hockey truly global. As always, I look forward to your feedback. I am now finalising my next proposal which will focus on strengthening our Olympic position. You will hear from me again soon on this next topic.
Henrik Bach Nielsen
Candidate for IIHF President
Since the launch of my candidacy for IIHF President, a few questions have come up repeatedly. Here, I share these frequently asked questions – and my answers – with you. If you have a question you would like answered, please send it to me.
Has ice hockey in Denmark really broken any barriers?
It would be easy for me to claim that under my leadership we have broken barriers – so instead I let our results speak for themselves.
In the last 10 years, under my leadership, the Danish Hockey Union’s revenues have tripled, the number of arenas across the country has increased by 40% (from 17 to 28) and the number of registered players has increased by 50% (from 4000 to 6000).
On the ice, during this same period, our Senior Men’s team has played in the Top Division every year (making it to the quarterfinals twice), our Senior Women’s Team are playing right now in the Top Division and our U20 Men’s Team spent five years in the Top 10.
In 2018, we hosted the first IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Denmark. This was a first for our country, but also a first for IIHF – that a rising nation of our size had the ability and desire to host this top event. It was a big success and showed the positive impact that having more nations hosting our top events brings to our sport globally. We look forward to hosting again in 2025, together with Sweden.
Since becoming President of the Danish Ice Hockey Union, with the support of my strong and ambitious team, we have broken barriers and we continue to move forward to take ice hockey to new levels in Denmark.
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