On Thursday, the first meeting of the Presidential Task Force - Clubs, Leagues and Member National Associations was held.
It was a kick-off for one of the Presidential Task Force groups that were announced following the election of Luc Tardif as new IIHF President to focus on topics outside of the mandate of the various committees.
The meeting included 50 participants who joined via video conference or on-site in Zurich. Clubs were represented through the Alliance of European Hockey Clubs (E.H.C.), the top national leagues of the continent via Hockey Europe and the Champions Hockey League, the IIHF through several IIHF Council members and the General Secretary. Several Member National Associations from the top European hockey countries sent delegates to the meeting as well.
Previous attempts to bring these major ice hockey stakeholders together included round-table formats where clubs, leagues, associations, and the IIHF were represented, such as the 2012 Hockey Forum and several meetings. This idea has now been formalized into the Presidential Task Force group.
“We want more communication, better exchanges, knowledge transfer, and closer collaboration between the groups,” said IIHF President Luc Tardif, who opened the meeting and explained the new structure of the committees and task force groups.
The participants talked about the purpose, expectations, goals, rights, commitments and development.
Among the topics were the international calendar, officiating with the new Unified Rule Book, the referee exchange program, and the upcoming Olympic Winter Games.
The participants received updated information regarding the protocols through the Playbooks of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, insurance, coordination of testing of the players with approved facilities and flights.
“We want to make sure to coordinate everything and enable the players to get tested and prepared according to the Playbooks of the Olympic Winter Games, get to Beijing safely, in time and taking into consideration the different schedules of the leagues and clubs. This will be the first practical test of coordination between clubs, leagues, MNAs and the IIHF following our meeting,” said Tardif.
Another major topic for the stakeholders was the international calendar. At the moment, there is an agreement for a calendar until 2025 and one of the major tasks of the group will be to work together to build the calendar for the 2025/2026 season and beyond.
One of the purposes of the meeting was to form the concrete task force groups by naming the members from the different stakeholders.
The club and league side will be represented by Jorgen Lindgren, Marc Luthi, Peter Zahner, and a fourth representative to be determined. The Member National Associations will be represented by Andy French, Anders Larsson, Matti Nurminen and Lars Weibel while the IIHF will be represented by Luc Tardif, who chairs the group, Senior Vice-President Petr Briza, and Regional Vice-President Henrik Bach Nielsen.
Tardif same as participants from the other organizations left the meeting room with a good atmosphere and confidence about the future results.
“Everybody was satisfied. There was a positive attitude and everybody went home with good feelings. All participants know that it’s not going to be simple but everybody understands the importance of this task force group and is ready to contribute,” Tardif said.
“From the Alliance of European Hockey Clubs, we command President Tardif for this initiative,” said E.H.C. Managing Director Szymon Szemberg. “We feel that there is a sincere will from the new IIHF leadership to open a sustainable dialogue between the world governing body and the professional clubs and leagues.”
The newly formed group will meet again in the second half of March.
Photo: Martin Merk / IIHF.com