Interview | Canceled World Ice Hockey Championship
“Would this have happened if the men had played in Canada?”
Ice Hockey World Championship bags were already packed, but the day before leaving the tournament was canceled. Laura Kluge of Berlin and her colleagues have complained publicly. There is now an alternate date in the summer.
rbb | 24: Ms Kluge, when the rejection came, I was in a training camp in Fossen and I was preparing to leave for the World Cup. How did the team receive the news?
Laura Cluj: I think we were all relatively surprised because we were told that the evening the day before we left. We’ve already packed all of our stuff. Some were still on the ice rink, others at the hotel and then a team meeting was called in shortly. We were told we would not be able to take off tomorrow, but the World Cup was canceled.
How did you feel after the cancellation and subsequent delay?
That was, of course, a disappointment. You are preparing for such an event all season. The World Cup like this is always the highlight of the year, no matter what you train for. Sure, now you are happy that the World Cup is being held again, but you have to tick it first.
There had been no international women’s championship in two years. Meanwhile, the FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup could be held in the winter. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) cannot influence stadium values, but do you see double standards here?
It’s always hard to say. Sure, the Men’s World Cup is now held, but in different places. The question would be whether it would have happened if the men played in Canada. no one knows. Of course it is a shame for us that for two years nothing has happened and the men are allowed to play. But since the World Cup was postponed, we hope this is a clear sign of appreciation for women.
After the cancellation, many international players complained that no alternate date was planned. Do you think that had it not been for this wave of anger, the cancellation would have remained?
I don’t hope so, but I do think the statements made by the players in particular have prompted the IIHF to search intensively for a possibility. But it is difficult to know.
In response to the complaints, the International Hockey Federation wrote that it would be extremely costly to plan an alternate site as an alternative. Is this an argument for you?
Yes, I think money definitely plays a role. Women’s ice hockey does not bring much profit to the association. It is expensive to have a spare hotel with 200 rooms to replace it. The alternative that should have been considered is to go from the start and not go where you know it will be difficult. This is more of a problem that I constantly followed plan.
How does the appreciation differ between men’s and women’s ice hockey? Do you see a change there?
I think women’s ice hockey is generally more appreciated. But in Germany especially, regardless of men or women, ice hockey still has a relatively low profile compared to other sports.
Is the appreciation of women’s ice hockey also reflected in the German Ice Hockey Federation?
A lot has happened in recent years. I think the association is completely behind us. Huge amounts of money were spent preparing to enable us to participate in the World Cup, and it is now clear that the support will continue there.
We had three preparatory courses and these are sums that were distributed in principle and must now be raised again. The club is doing a really good job.
Thank you for this interview!
The interview was conducted by Lyn Kraemer of RBB Sports.
Broadcast: rbb UM6, May 12, 2021, 6pm
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