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ICE HOCKEY: Šťastný and Rusnák criticise Bratislava’s ice stadium

The main venue of the Ice Hockey World Championship 2011 (IHWC) to be held in Slovakia between April 29 and May 15, the Ondrej Nepela Ice Stadium in Bratislava, has been at the core of debates and arguments since its reconstruction began last year, according to the TASR newswire.

The main venue of the Ice Hockey World Championship 2011 (IHWC) to be held in Slovakia between April 29 and May 15, the Ondrej Nepela Ice Stadium in Bratislava, has been at the core of debates and arguments since its reconstruction began last year, according to the TASR newswire.

Peter Šťastný, a former captain and general manager of Slovakia’s national ice hockey team, has been one of the stadium’s harshest critics. He told the Sme daily that Bratislava could have had a completely new ice stadium, in a better locality, and moreover for free.

“We could have had super-modern luxury and a representative hall with the capacity of 15,000 that Slovaks could have been proud of. And the main point is it could have been in a better place and been built for free. Today, we have something in an improper locality, small and terribly overpriced. We all provided money for that, taxpayers and the city of Bratislava, which has become very indebted, moreover,” Šťastný said, as quoted by TASR.

Šťastný added that he hoped for audits and an investigation to be made some time after the championship has finished. Šťastný has been critical of the head of the Slovak Ice Hockey Association (SZĽH), Juraj Široký, who was also in charge of the reconstruction of the stadium and the construction of a hotel next to the stadium, for the past five years and expressed hope that the association will be led by someone more skilful and efficient in the future. Široký announced he would not run for another term after his time has expired.

Former 1985 hockey world champion Dárius Rusnák also commented that it was a mistake not to build a new ice rink. “It is generally not good to reconstruct something; the hall was already reconstructed and was quite nice, except for the columns. I think a completely new hall should have been built, for about 12,000 people. I think it was a big, big mistake not to build [a new] one,” he told Sme.

Source: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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