Ice Hockey IIHF IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship

International Ice Hockey Federation Reveals Host Cities For World Championships To 2026

May 30, 2022

The 2022 IIHF Annual Congress has allocated tournaments for the upcoming season including the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship that will be co-hosted by Tampere, Finland and Riga, Latvia. The 2026 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will take place in Zurich and Fribourg, Switzerland.

Worlds return to Tampere & Riga

The Congress approved a joint bid of Finland and Latvia to host the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship replacing St. Petersburg after the hosting rights had been withdrawn from Russia.

The next Worlds will take place at the biggest venues of two of the world’s most passionate hockey countries in Tampere and Riga from 12 to 28 May 2023.

Finland and Latvia are ready to fill in at short notice and will use the organizational experiences and staff from the 2021 and 2022 editions. “It is a privilege and we are grateful to jointly host the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship,” Finnish Ice Hockey Association President Harri Nummela said about the bid of the two Baltic Sea nations.

“We are happy for your trust and are ready to host the World Championship with the best conditions for the teams and the best atmosphere for the fans,” said Latvian Ice Hockey Federation President Aigars Kalvitis.Nokia Arena in Tampere is planned as main venue of the Finnish-Latvian bid to host the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

The newly opened Nokia Arena in Tampere will serve as the main venue as per the ongoing 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and will host one preliminary-round group, two quarter-finals, all semi-final and medal games. Up to 11,695 fans have filled the arena during the current tournament and in total 219,124 have come to the 30 games in Tampere.

For co-host Latvia it will be the chance to host the World Championship with fans since last year’s event had to be played in mostly empty arenas due to Covid-19 restrictions. Arena Riga with a capacity of up to 9,550 spectators will serve as the Latvian venue same as in 2006 and 2021 and will host one preliminary-round group and two quarter-final games. Fan zones are planned next to both arenas. Latvia is well-known for its passionate fans travelling to the World Championship and thanks to them also had the second-highest average attendance at the current World Championship only behind host Finland.Arena Riga hosted the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in 2006 when it was opened and in 2021.

Riga and Tampere are 501 kilometres apart and connected with a 70-minute direct scheduled flight between the two cities. Teams who have to move to the cross-over quarter-finals or to the semi-finals will be transported with charter flights.

Originally there was a second co-hosting bid of Budapest, Hungary and Ljubljana, Slovenia with a site visit by the IIHF already conducted this month. However, Hungary withdrew the bid on 23 May due to lack of government guarantees, which was acknowledged by the IIHF. Therefore no vote was needed but two countries still used the opportunity to present the bid for future considerations mentioning 2028 as a potential year and receiving encouraging ratings for their bid and passion.

Switzerland to host in 2026

The Congress approved Switzerland as host country of the 2026 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, which will take place in Zurich and Fribourg from 15 to 31 May 2026. The Swiss were originally slated to host in 2020 but the tournament got cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. No vote was needed as the only other applicant, Kazakhstan, had earlier withdrawn its bid.

The Swiss Life Arena in Zurich, which will open later this year in the Altstetten district of the city, will serve as main venue for the event. The arena will offer a seating capacity for 11,200 fans for ice hockey and have the largest video cube of an ice arena in Europe. Zurich is the country’s most populous city with 400,000 inhabitants in the city and 1.5 million in the canton.

About a 90-minute car or train ride away, Fribourg will serve as secondary venue for the event. The city of 40,000 (320,000 in the canton) is at the German-Swiss language border and well known as a hockey town in Switzerland. The BCF Arena that was renovated and extended in recent years offers a capacity for 7,100 fans and was sold out for all games in the past season.

The IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships of the upcoming years:

  • 2023: Tampere (Finland) & Riga (Latvia), 12-28 May 2023
  • 2024: Prague & Ostrava (Czechia), 10-26 May 2024
  • 2025: Stockholm (Sweden) & Herning (Denmark), 9-25 May 2025
  • 2026: Zurich & Fribourg (Switzerland), 15-31 May 2026

Ice Hockey IIHF IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship