Since Mönchengladbach was granted the organization of the 11th World Championship by the FIH nearly four years ago, the new German 'hockey capital' is looking forward to the starting signal on 6 September in the Warsteiner Hockey Park. Mönchengladbach’s lord-mayor Norbert Bude is the proud host of the first world championship for men to be played in Germany.
Only three weeks up to the BDO hockey world championship 2006. How does the host city Mönchengladbach present itself in the last weeks before the starting signal?
Bude: 'Enthusiastic about sport, hospitable and in joyful expectation for the event. Honestly said: I too can hardly wait for the opening play.'
The preparations for the first world cup for men in Germany are nearly finished. How would you summarize retrospectively this long phase? Did everything go according to plan or were there also problems along the way?
Bude: 'If one considers what is done in the past years by many responsible persons on different levels in order to let the vision of a world championship hockey in Mönchengladbach become reality, one can only give all people involved a large compliment. Naturally here and there obstacles had to be removed along the way. On those moments it is crucial that the whole team works together.'
The world championship football 2006 turned Germany completely into a large party area for four weeks with peacefully celebrating people. Will Mönchengladbach be able to realise - naturally on a much smaller level - a similar atmosphere during the Hockey World Cup?
Bude: 'The four-nation tournament at the Easter weekend and the great atmosphere in the HockeyPark also created a kind of euphoria amongst the people of Mönchengladbach, who so far weren’t well known hockey fans. They will not let escape the chance to celebrate the world championship with the teams and guests from all over the world. I’m convinced that we can carry forward the momentum of the world championship football into September.'
Once more the cross pass to the world championship football: All the matches were sold out and the stadiums were full. Is this your goal too for the Hockey World Cup?
Bude: “Naturally we want a full Hockey Park. And the advance booking started already formidably. For a number of plays there are already no more tickets available. I am sure that we will also experience filled ranks in the first playing rounds.”
How about the fans who can’t obtain tickets any more for the most popular matches (final, probably semi-final and the match Germany against the Netherlands in the first round) Will there be a public viewing in the city?
Bude: “It’s our intention to show as much as possible from the world championship on a 17 m2 large video wall at the Kapuzinerplatz in the town center. If Germany should reach the final, the match will even be transferred live. From 14 to 17 September additionally there will be an attractive side program with music and entertainment.”
The rejuvenated German team again plays on world top level, as recently proven by a place in the final of the Champions Trophy. What do you think the German team is capable of in its own 'living room'?
Bude: “You always have to reckon with the host country at a world championship. For me personally the team of national coach Bernhard Peters belongs to the close circle of title candidates. The fact that the players feel well in their own stadium and are stimulated by the fans is well proven by the results in the four-nation tournament. And in the Champions Trophy at the end of July the team confirmed their outstanding form. My dream final reads: Germany against Netherlands!”
Final question: How often will we see the lord-mayor in the Warsteiner Hockey Park during the championship?
Bude: Unfortunately I can’t afford myself a two week vacation, in order to spend the whole World Championship in the Hockey Park. But all meetings of the German team and a number of further plays are already firmly registered in my schedule. Besides that, I look forward to a set of events around the world championship in which I will surely meet many players, volunteers and officials.”
Further information on the championship website: www.hockeyworldcup.de
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