After stripping Saint Petersburg, Russia of hosting duties for the 2023 World Championship due to their ongoing invasion in Ukraine, today the IIHF announced at their annual Congress that hosting rights would now be split between to the last two hosts of the World Championships, with 2021 hosts Rīga, Latvia and current 2022 hosts Tampere, Finland hosting next year, from 12-28 May 2023.
Russia, which was set to use the tournament to debut their new SKA Arena, the biggest hockey-specific arena in Europe, was stripped of hosting duties last month, with the IIHF Congress moving to decide by the end of May, coinciding with the ongoing World Championships. Only two bids were received, both joint bids – the winning bid from Finland and Latvia, and a surprising joint bid from Hungary and Slovenia, both of whom recently gained promotion to the 2023 Worlds. However, due to political instability and uncertainty in Hungary, it was decided that this bid would be withdrawn, leaving Tampere and Rīga as hosts.
As with this year’s Worlds in Tampere and Helsinki, the new Nokia Arena in Tampere will host the semifinals and medal games, with the Arēna Rīga serving as the secondary host. This will mark Tampere’s seventh time as hosts (1965, 1982, 1991, 1997, 2003, 2022, 2023) and Finland’s ninth time hosting overall, while Rīga and Latvia host for the third time, following their stints as solo hosts in 2006 and 2021. With COVID restrictions likely to be minimal by May 2023, Rīga will have the opportunity to host a “free” Worlds for the first time in nearly two decades, with 2021 still under stricter protocols.
The IIHF Congress also announced Zürich and Fribourg, Switzerland as hosts of the 2026 World Championships, being awarded the tournament after having to cancel the 2020 edition due to the COVID pandemic; that the next two Women’s World Championships will be hosted at to-be-named locations in Canada and the United States in 2023 and 2024, respectively; and hosts for lower Divisions across all competitions in 2023. Be sure to check Upcoming Tournaments for updates as they are announced.