IIHF President Fasel Satisfied With Building of the SAZKA ARENA

Kurri, Gut, Fasel

IIHF President René FASEL visited SAZKA ARENA building site for the fourth time on Thursday 4th July, 2003 where next IIHF World Championships should be played. “I´m enthusiastic and at the same time convinced that the arena will be finished and all of us will see great championship in it,“ Fasel said after inspection of the building site.

Fasel was accompanied by Jari Kurri, five-time Stanley Cup winner and the representative of Finland in the International Olympic Committee and of course by Mr Karel Gut, the President of Czech Ice-Hockey Federation. Fasel wasn´t hiding his enthusiasm about the progress of the works on the arena. „I was here four months ago and I´m really impressed by the progress you´ve made.“ Said Fasel and added: „I´m 100% sure SAZKA ARENA will be finished. No, we don´t have any   alternative solution and we´re not even looking for any.“ And speedily he mentioned the bet between Jan-Åke Edvinsson and Aleš Hušák, the Chairman of the Board and the General Director of Sazka,a.s. They bet for the package of expensive red wine. Hušák promised, that he´ll be skating on the ice of SAZKA ARENA on the 28th February, 2004 at 8 o´clock in the morning. Jan-Åke Edvinsson bet the package against it and he still claims the arena will not be finished. „ And I dare to say, that Jan-Åke will lose this bet,“ stated Fasel.

Fasel and co. saw that one fourth of the roof construction has already been in place, and the air-conditioning distributions are being placed inside. Jari Kurri as an native Finn was very interested if there will be a sauna in the arena as well. „Yes, of course. We count with saunas,“ answered Aleš Hušák. But for the first time he admitted that the small arena which should serve for practices won´t be prepared. Alternative solution is an ice-arena in nearby Letňany,“ Hušák explained to Fasel.     

Jari Kurri was really interested in building details. This was due to his own experience of seeing many new arenas during his overseas  NHL carreer. „Every new arena wants to be the best and have more qualities than the ones built before. And the same approach I see also here and I´m looking forward to coming and seeing the first game. And I´m convinced when Czech national team comes to play their first game, they will feel nervous. It is something strange and exciting to play in the new arena,“ said Kurri. And Rene Fasel added: „Eventhough Jari wouldn´t like this because Hartwall Arena is the pride of Finland, I think that SAZKA ARENA will be European no.1 between arenas and it could widely help Prague in its proclaimed cantidature for OG 2020.“

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