International Ice Hockey Federation

Two weeks of hockey action

Two weeks of hockey action

Top talents from 12 countries will compete in Bled

Published 31.03.2017 12:08 GMT+4 | Author Rok Srakar
Two weeks of hockey action
Photo: Jost Gantar
The "Pearl of Gorenjska region", as the town of Bled is quite often described, has a long tradition in Slovenian ice hockey.

Many renowned players, former and current, come from the Bled area or have at one point of their careers played here.

Before the current ice rink was built in 1974 the people of Bled and tourists used the current location of Bled Sports Hall as a natural ice skating rink. There were many improvements made in four decades, with the complete renovation in 2002 which included the construction of municipal and energy infrastructure, fitness centre, offices and cafe, as well as arrangement of hall surroundings and Olympic Square.

In the recent years Bled Sports Hall has not only become home base of the Slovenian men's and women's national teams, but also a host of IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships. The advantage of the ice rink's location just a few steps away from most of the hotels in Bled it is very popular for the competing teams as it saves quite a lot of time on transport and other logistics. It provides them with maximum focus on practice and competition. Placed near the lake in one of the most scenic surroundings Bled also offers competitors the opportunity to relax during the breaks in their tight schedules.

This year Bled will host both Division I groups of men's U18 World Championship program.

Couple of days after the curtain falls on the Group A competitions in Bled the Group B teams of Austria, Italy, Japan, Poland, Slovenia and Ukraine will step on the same ice in the days from 15th to 21st April to give all they got, so that at the end of the road they may be the ones advancing to Group A.

Last year it was Hungary by winning all five games in Asiago, Italy, finishing at the top of the standings with maximum points. Austria will be replacing their south-eastern neighbors this year in Bled determined to retake their place in the Division I Group A for next year.

On the other end of last season's standings at this tier Korea was sent down to Division II while Poland earned the newcomer’s status in this season's Division I Group B by wining the 2016 Division II Group A tournament in Brasov, Romania.


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