GERMANY is a country where ice hockey is easily less-popular than football (soccer); still, more people will view the first match of the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships at the VELTINS-ARENA in the Ruhr city of Gelsenkirchen than normally take in a game for the stadium’s normal tenant, the powerful football side FC SCHALKE 04 of the Bundesliga. (Reuters photo)
By the time the puck drops for opening game of the 2010 IIHF World Championships, a new world record for single-game attendance at an indoor arena for an ice hockey match will have been set in the Veltins-Arena.
A crowd of 76,152 is expected to be on hand to see the silver medalist from the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the UNITED STATES, skate against the underdog but home-standing national team of GERMANY in a Group D qualifying round match.
The United States – Germany is the only game of this year’s annual event to be contested in Gelsenkirchen; the rest of Group D’s matches are scheduled for the more than 2,000-year-old historical German city of Koeln (Cologne).
A stadium worker floods the “ice” surface at the Veltins-Arena football stadium in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, ahead of the 2010 IIHF World Championships for ice hockey. (Reuters photo)===============================================================
Just last Saturday, May 1, the Veltins-Arena staged FC Schalke 04′s final home football match of the season; die Koenigsblauen (Royal Blues) succumbed 0-2 to visiting Werder Bremen and effectively handed the Bundesliga title to FC Bayern Munich.
The Veltins-Arena, sponsored by the German brewer since July of 2005, was originally known as the Arena AufSchalke when first opened for the German first division football club, FC Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen. The capacity for a domestic league football contest is 61,482 (both seated and standing); when Germany’s national football team play international matches that total is reduced to 53,951 (seated only). The facility, which first opened in late summer of 2001, was constructed at the cost of a reported 192 million Euros.
Aus einem Fussballstadion wird eine Eishalle. From a football stadium will be an ice rink. The United States and Germany will drop the puck to open the 2010 IIHF World Championships at 20:15 local time. (Reuters photo)