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  • Hockey Rink Shrinks for 2010 Olympics


    IOC commission chair Rene Fasel with VANOC CEO John Furlong. (B.Mackin) 
    (ATR) The size of the rink for Olympic hockey will shrink in Vancouver to the size used for NHL play. The change means the rink at the main hockey venue will not need to be modified for the Games.

    The 200-foot by 85-foot National Hockey League surface will be used at the 2010 Winter Olympics for men's and women's hockey instead of the international version, which is 13.5 feet wider.

    VANOC announced the change Wednesday at the press conference wrapping up the latest visit of the IOC Coordination Commission.

    CEO John Furlong said VANOC would save $10 million in construction costs and sell 35,000 more tickets. He said VANOC suggested the format change 18 months ago and made a final presentation at International Ice Hockey Federation meetings during 2006's World Championship in Latvia.

    Furlong said there was no connection to ongoing lease negotiations with the owners of General Motors Place, Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment. He also said it was a matter of sustainability and not budget.

    VANOC is waiting for $110 million of federal and provincial taxpayers' dollars to cover rising construction costs. "This was a completely independent initiative," Furlong said.

    Coordination Commision chair Rene Fasel is also the IIHF?s president.

    "I'm really looking forward to see how it will work, we're playing with our rules in the smaller ice. I
    The IOC commission visits the site for the Nordic events near Whistler. (VANOC) 
    can just say the women's game is better on the small ice."

    Meanwhile, Fasel said the IOC is satisfied with VANOC's progress. He said it's "moving in the right direction" despite budgetary woes.

    After a morning tour of Whistler venues, CoComm attended the raising of the International Olympic Committee flag by England's Prince Edward at Vancouver city hall.

    IOC officials return next month, along with 40 staff members from the Turin Olympics for the official debrief of the 2006 Games.

    The next visits of the Coordination Commission is set for March and September 2007.

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