Germany has bid as the host for the 2027 Men’s World Champion but the nation’s capital looks to be off the market. With Germany being one of the two nations to be expected to make a bid, it was a chance for Berlin to host the tournament for the first time in almost 100 years.
Four cities were announced as finalists which will be finalized in the 2023 IIHF Annual Congress. The cities are Cologne, Dusseldorf, Mannheim, and Munich. All four cities are located between three of the biggest German states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, and Bavaria.
Germany will be hosting the tournament for the ninth time in the country’s history and for the first time since 2017 when the tournament was played in Cologne and co-hosted by Paris, France.
The capital has only been able to host the tournament once back in 1930 when the city hosted the finals where Canada beat Germany 6-1.
But the city hasn’t seen a hosting opportunity since. It has been one of the biggest markets for hockey in all of Europe for the past few years. Eisbaren Berlin has been an attendance leader in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). Before covid, they were one of the few teams that would have an average attendance of over 10,000 and would regularly fight with Kölner Haie, the team from Cologne for the sole attendance leadership.
Berlin has shown up for their hockey team. Berlin has shown that they are a hockey town yet they haven’t received the same level of support as Cologne which has hosted the tournament four times and Munich which hosted the tournament three times.
It also has a great arena in the downtown area called the Mercedes-Benz Arena which also hosts a basketball team. The arena was opened in 2008 and has seen Eisbaren Berlin win the DEL six times in the arena.
It is also an area that the NHL has been heavily looking at even sending teams to play against the Polar Bear-themed team. In 2019 the Chicago Blackhawks had a pre-season, exhibition match against the DEL team and won 3-1. After covid, the NHL came back with the San Jose Sharks and the same result happened with a 3-1 win for the NHL team.
But there is an issue with Berlin and that is proximity. While the other four cities are closer together, they are also closer to other cities that have strong hockey fan bases. Berlin is alone in the eastern side of the country with some small DEL-2 teams in Saxony but none in Brandenburg, the state that surrounds the city.
With the tournament hosts being four years in advance, it will give a lot of time for the hosts to prepare even though there only needs to be two rinks. Right now, there is not much competition to host the 2027 edition with the only other country to express interest being Kazakhstan.
Norway used to be another country that was opting to bid for the event but backed away early this month. Kazakhstan is trying to host the event for the first time in the nation’s history. Kazakhstan’s two proposed arenas are Barys Arena in the nation’s capital of Astana where the KHL team Barys Astana plays and the second is Almaty Arena which hosted the 2017 Winter Universiade.
It seems like Berlin will have to wait for its special time to get to host a World Championship. Soon enough the IIHF will see the hard work Berlin has done to make itself a top hockey market in Europe. That day sadly doesn’t look like it’s today.
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