Sweden is celebrating adding another major winter sports event to its calendar, after being selected to host the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in 2025.
The landmark event, which would take place in the year preceding the Stockholm Åre 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games should Sweden successfully win its candidacy next month, is the latest in a series of major international winter sport events hosted in Sweden.
Earlier this year, Sweden successfully delivered the Under 18 Men’s Ice Hockey Championship, and in 2022, it will host the Under 20 World Championship – in the same year that the Swedish Ice Hockey Association will turn 100 years old.
Anders Larsson, Chairman of the Swedish Ice Hockey Association, is delighted that Sweden will host the prestigious World Championship for a 12th time.
“This is a very good day for Swedish hockey. We have a lot of tradition when it comes to ice hockey and we have a responsibility to grow the game and influence more people in getting to know ice hockey and feel the passion for the game.
“We have shown that we are strong organisers – we have the passion in our country, and we can make good things happen.”
The decision to award the World Championship to Sweden was officially announced on Friday at the IIHF’s annual congress during the World Championship in Slovakia. Sweden’s neighbour Denmark will co-host the event.
Tommy Boustedt, Secretary General of the Swedish Ice Hockey Association, added that the World Championship could drive forward an already rich pool of Swedish world-class winter sport talent.
“We have a very strong hockey programme in Sweden – some ten percent of the players in the NHL are Swedish, and that’s the biggest number for any country outside North America.”
He added: “The new generation of players who are 17-18 years old now are already looking forward to the World Championship in 2025 – and also to the Olympic Winter Games in 2026.
“They’ll be at their peak at that time, aged about 24-25 years old. So, to have a strong generation of Under 18 squads today is very good for our World Championship and for the Olympics as well.”
Sweden’s bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2026 is built around the IOC’s Agenda 2020 initiative, aims to deliver the most sustainable Winter Games ever.
Additionally, the Stockholm Åre 2026 concept will promote a sporting legacy, inspiring a new generation of winter sport athletes. Boustedt explains that previous events have led to a sharp increase in participation across the country.
“We see lots of young people start to play hockey when we have organised big tournaments in Sweden, and also when we have competed in the Olympics and recorded good results.”
The decision on whether Sweden will be awarded the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will be made on 24 June at the IOC session in Lausanne, Switzerland.
On Friday, the IOC released an Evaluation Commission report on Stockholm Åre 2026.
Stockholm Åre 2026 CEO Richard Brisius reacted to the ‘overwhelmingly positive’ report, calling it ‘the strongest validation yet of our pledge to make the Olympic and Paralympic Games more sustainable, more affordable and more accessible for more cities and communities than ever’.
“Stockholm Åre 2026 will head to the IOC Session in Lausanne with confidence that our bid is tailor made for the new reality of staging a truly 21st Century Winter Games,” he added.