The International Ice Hockey Federation’s Under-20s World Championship, which concluded on Sunday, has been hailed as a huge success.
High quality play, large crowds and the presence of celebrity fans in the stands contributed to the feelgood factor, a vibe which went through the roof when ice hockey’s holy grail, the Stanley Cup, landed in Scotland for the first time.
Richard Grieveson, the D&G Council’s head of resource planning and community services, said: “I’m extremely proud of all the Ice Bowl staff involved in delivering this world championship, and the huge commitment they made. We can now look forward with confidence to the Under-18s World Championship at the end of March, knowing that Dumfries Ice Bowl is an established international ice hockey venue.”
Andy French, general secretary of Ice Hockey UK, added: “I’m thrilled at the whole week we have had in Dumfries. The council has met the exacting standards required to host international ice hockey competition, and for fans of the sport it’s been a special time, welcoming the Stanley Cup to Scotland for the first time, and celebrating 100 years of ice hockey in the UK.”
The world championship also created an economic boost for the area. The event was the catalyst for a financial windfall of over £100,000 for local accommodation providers alone, as more than 2000 “bed nights” were required to host the competing nations, their support staff and officials. Most of the tournament expenditure was provided by Ice Hockey UK, and the council successfully applied to EventScotland for additional financial support.
Councillor Colin Smyth said: “This tournament has left many legacies for Dumfries and Galloway. There is every possibility that we will attract further major tournaments and matches to the Ice Bowl, and we have developed ice hockey as an engrossing, family friendly spectator sport in this area.”
Italy won the gold medal, with Kazakhstan taking silver and France bronze. The Great Britain team acquitted themselves well, which included a memorable penalty shoot-out victory over pre-tournament favourites France. They concluded their schedule with a well merited 4-2 win over Japan, with Liam Stewart scoring in the dying seconds to confirm the match.