In somewhat of a coup for Ice Hockey UK, Team Great Britain & Northern Ireland will host the 2017 World Championships (Division 1B).
In conjunction with The SSE Arena, the city of Belfast and the Belfast Giants, GB convincing won the right to host their group with 72% of the vote, beating rivals Estonia.
Team GB will welcome Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Japan and Netherlands to Belfast, for a tournament which shall run from April 23-29, 2017.
GB have yet to host a IIHF men’s world championship in it’s current format and have only previously played host twice before, in 1952 and 1993.
The SSE Arena is home to the Belfast Giants and will hold all 15 games across the five days of play.
Opened in 2000, the arena has a capacity of 7,200 for ice hockey and over 10,000 for concerts and other events.
Formerly the Odyssey Arena, the building underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment in 2015, with the naming rights sold for ten years.
There’s little doubt that Belfast will do an excellent job in hosting such a prestigious event, with the city and the arena well used to the organisation required for such occasions.
Amongst the GB hockey community however, not everyone was pleased with the decision for Belfast to host.
Many fans enjoying the chance to visit other countries during these tournaments, was just one factor brought up.
Another being that there surely could have been a more centrally located venue for everyone to attend games, with Belfast only accessible by ferry or air for those on the mainland, with neither proving particularly cheap options.
With those issues in mind, all concerned with the event have done a terrific job pricing up tickets in various packages.
Early bird pricing is also a nice touch for the full package of games, offering those able to plan in advance a discount.
World Championship Pass – on or before 31st December 2016 (15 games)
Adult – £60
Concession (Over-65s & students – with a valid ID) – £45
Children (Aged 16 & under – with a valid ID) – £30
Family (2 adults + 2 children – with a valid ID) – £150
World Championship Pass – on or after 1st January 2017 (15 games)
Adult – £70
Concession (Over-65s & students – with a valid ID) – £55
Kids (Aged 16 & under – with a valid ID) – £40
Family (2 adults + 2 children – with a valid ID) – £180
Day Pass (3 games, available for day of choice)
Adult – £16
Concession (Over-65s & students – with a valid ID) – £11
Kids (Aged 16 & under – with a valid ID) – £9
Family (2 adults + 2 children – with a valid ID) – £44
Final Weekend Pass – Friday 28th & Saturday 29th April (6 games)
Adult – £30
Concession (Over-65s & students – with a valid ID) – £20
Kids (Aged 16 & under – with a valid ID) – £15
Family (2 adults + 2 children – with a valid ID) – £75
At it’s most expensive, £16 for a day of hockey is unbelievable value and facing facts, even that cost for one game compares favourably with Elite League games.
After near misses in previous campaign’s, this tournament represent’s a fantastic chance to progress for the home nation.
A fervent home crowd, familiar surroundings, less travel, favourable scheduling and playing opposition they’ve beaten previously, ensures this is an excellent opportunity for GB to finally win gold and promotion to Division 1A.
Tickets are now on sale, and can be purchased through various outlets – online through Ticketmaster, from the Arena Box Office in person or by calling 028 9073 9074.
Tournament Schedule: (All time listed are GMT)
SUNDAY, APRIL 23
1) 12:30pm Netherlands vs. Japan
2) 16:00pm Croatia vs. Great Britain
3) 19:30pm Estonia vs. Lithuania
MONDAY, APRIL 24
4) 12:30pm Japan vs. Croatia
5) 16:00pm Lithuania vs. Netherlands
6) 19:30pm Great Britain vs. Estonia
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26
7) 12:30pm Japan vs. Estonia
8) 16:00pm Netherlands vs. Croatia
9) 19:30pm Great Britain vs. Lithuania
FRIDAY, APRIL 28
10) 12:30pm Lithuania vs. Japan
11) 16:00pm Croatia vs. Estonia
12) 19:30pm Great Britain vs. Netherlands
SATURDAY, APRIL 29
13) 12:30pm Lithuania vs. Croatia
14) 16:00pm Estonia vs. Netherlands
15) 19:30pm Japan vs. Great Britain