Ukraine Loses Chance of Holding World Championships

Ukraine was forced to decide against holding the 2015 IIHF World Championships Division I Group A in Donetsk. The decision was made due to military unrest and disastrous humanitarian situation in the country’s East. Ukraine secured the right for holding the championship last May.

Anatoliy Brezvin, Chairman of Ukraine’s Hockey Federation broke the news last Friday: “Regretfully we cannot be fully protected from the political tensions in the country preventing foreign guests and fans from visiting the hockey festival in Donetsk.”

During the week preceding the announcement the Ukrainian, Polish and Russian sport publications had been discussing Ukraine’s chances of holding the 2015 IIHF event in Donetsk. The city is nowadays a major battleground between the Ukrainian government forces and heavily armed pro-Russian separatist groups.

IIHF Congress session
IIHF Congress (Martin Merk/IIHF)

Thus, the Ukrainian reported on Tuesday, August 12, with reference to the Italian La Gazetta delo Sport, that Ukraine was rid of its right to hold the Championship, where the local team had to play against Japan, Hungary, Italy, Kazahstan, and Poland for joining the highest IIHF division. Patrick Rokitski, press officer of the Polish Ice Hockey Federation (PZHL), reported to the Russian ITAR-TASS Agency that Poland would be ready to host the event in case the right is granted them. He added that his Federation was reckoning on victory in May over Ukraine’s Donetsk, but surprisingly it was the Ukraine’s eastern megalopolis that won that time. The PZHL mentioned Krakow as the prior candidate for holding the event. The beautiful city boasts new and spacious arena opened a year ago in March 2014 and excellent infrastructure.

Adam Steiss, Communications Manager at the IIHF, reported to ITAR-TASS on August 13 that the IIHF will favor the Polish bid in case of Ukraine’s refusal to hold the championship.

Currently the IIHF schedule of events indicates no dates and no host for the event. The IIHF’s web-page only says that the final decision about the tournament will be reached in September at the 2014 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress.

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