The 2018 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress kicked off today in Valletta, Malta, with agenda topics on the table ranging from regulation changes to development of the game. The congress is the first major event on the IIHF calendar and signals the start of the international ice hockey season. It is the last opportunity for the IIHF membership to get together for discussion before the World Championship program begins.


The 2018 Semi-Annual Congress kicked off with an opening welcome speech by IIHF President René Fasel. “Cooperation is necessary to achieve anything, whether it is in a committee meeting, the organization of a hockey tournament, or at an IIHF Congress. We have two congresses each year because we believe in getting the ice hockey family together to discuss the game.”


“We had a very positive meeting which is the first step for the start of the preparations for Beijing 2022,” said IIHF Vice-President for Asia Thomas Wu. The CIHA and the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee are at this Congress and have made significant steps forward in a relatively small amount of time.” Also on the agenda at the Semi-Annual Congress will be an update on the new 3-on-3 format which will debut at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne.


In his welcome speech to Congress, Fasel looked back at what was a very successful 2017/18 ice hockey season, noting the impact of the Unified Korea women’s ice hockey team at the 2018 Olympic Games and the successful IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Denmark in particular. Fasel also looked ahead to the upcoming season, noting with anticipation the new tournament formats and hosts that would debut in 2019.


“Starting with the upcoming World Juniors in Vancouver and Victoria, there is a much to get excited about. I look forward to seeing the Women’s World Championship in Espoo, Finland, which will debut the new 10-team format. We still have work to do to reach a balanced level of competition, but I am confident in the work of the IIHF Women’s Committee to achieve this goal.” Fasel also mentioned that Kazakhstan would play host to the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A tournament in April. The tournament, set to be held in Astana, is the first time that Kazakhstan has hosted such a high-level IIHF men’s event.


“Through the hard work of the host countries and the excellent TV coverage provided by Infront, this tournament has continued to grow and develop, said Fasel. “I must say that last year’s event was exceptionally competitive and fun to watch, and I am pleased Astana has been chosen to play host to the 2019 tournament. This is a beautiful city that has a deep passion for ice hockey, and I am sure that Kazakhstan will be a great host.”


Source: www.iihf.com