2005 World Championship to be hosted by Kuopio, Finland

For the first time ever, Finland will host the IIHF World InLine Hockey Championship. The annual event will be held in the northern city of Kuopio from July 9-16.

Two arenas will host the 16 participating nations. Niirala Main Arena will be the primary venue and has a capacity of 5,000, while Kuopio-halli will be the second venue with a capacity of 2,300. Finland is the defending silver medallist of the InLine Hockey World Championship after USA captured the gold last year.

Kuopio is approximately 350 km north of Helsinki and is a first-time host of any IIHF World Championship event.

Germany has hosted the IIHF InLine Hockey World championship for the last three years. It was in Germany that the current format, with 16 teams, was adopted. The same format will be used at this year?s championship.

The 16 teams will be split into a Top Division and a Division I group. The top eight teams will be split into two groups of four for a round robin, while the same will happen in the Division I level. The two last-place teams from the top division round robin and the two first place teams from the Division I round robin will play a qualification game for the right to move, or stay, among the best eight teams.

After the qualification game, there will be a playoff in each group to determine the medallists at each level. Since the new format was adopted, no Division I team has earned the right to play among the top eight teams, however, the gap has been closing between the two levels.

The medal games will be played on July 16. A complete schedule will be announced at a later date.

Five-Year InLine Hockey Plan

Committee chairmen Walter L. Bush Jr. has outlined the following priorities in the five-year plan for the growth, development and improved positioning of InLine Hockey worldwide.

Five-Year Plan In-Line Goals:
a) To establish a club competition both in Europe and South America
b) To establish an U18 World Championship
c) To establish a Women's World Championship
d) To establish a network for coaching, officiating, administration as a prime goal for development
e) To improve the communication system