Above, the Finnish first-class stamp that came out in March that features the official mascot of the Championship, HockeyBird. If you didn't already know, Angry Birds was created in Finland by Rovio Mobile.
Well, my pre-tourney prediction was half-right: Sweden disappoints, but Slovakia will face Russia in IIHF World Championship Gold Medal Final in Stockholm on Sunday; delayed telecast in U.S. at 9 p.m. Eastern on NBCCS, DirecTV Channel 603
Daily Recap 19th May http://youtu.be/t2wQ_iyuX_0
Video of the goals in Slovakia's 3-1 second-semifinal game victory Saturday over the Czech Republic.
Russia routed co-host Finland 6-2 in Helsinki in the first semifinal game. Finland defeated the USA in the Quarterfinals, while Slovakia defeated Canada in the Quarterfinals on Thursday.
Depending upon where you live around the world, you might be able to watch the Bronze Medal and Gold Medal matches today online at: http://www.youtube.com/icehockey
However, the U.S. is NOT one of those countries, as even the IIHF highlight videos on their YouTube Channel are off-limits if you live in the U.S., which is why I used the Aftonbladet video at the top.
That's real marketing genius at work!!!
TV4 Sweden's video includes highlights of Czech Republic's 4-3 victory over Tre Kronor in the Quarterfinals.
The IIHF tourney has been the source of lots of serious -and some would say unrelenting- media criticism in Sweden over the smaller-than-expected crowds that have shown up for some games in what is a world championship tourney, after all.
More fans actually attended some of the Elitserien games this year than attended the tourney.
But whether you think it's the length of the tourney, over two weeks, or the high ticket prices, or both, there seems to be a lot of positing of the old chicken and egg conundrum.
Is turnout low because the ticket prices are thought by many to be higher than they should be, leading to a situation where the visiting fans who are able to get away from home for the tourney in Finland and Sweden are being overly judicious in what games they go to besides their own country's, and thus, spending the money at bars, night clubs and restaurants instead?
Is the tourney getting smaller crowds because the Stanley Cup playoffs are still being played in North America and many of the best players of those teams would be playing in the tourney if the NHL had reconfigured the schedule, so why see less-than-the best?
Or, is it the tourney getting lower-than-expected crowds because Swedish and Finnish fans the organizers thought would be attending just aren't really too interested in going to games where neither team is playing -at those prices?
My pre-tourney prediction of Sweden vs, Slovakia came in my April 26, 2012 post titled, Instant Classic video! Romania's National Ice Hockey Team manager lets loose after tough loss to Poland; IIHF World Championship 2012 Finland/Sweden starts next week,
which featured this amazing video that everyone who sees it just loves because it's so honest!
Warning -lots of expletives are flying in this video!
Romania National Ice Hockey Team manager lets loose with tough love after tough loss to Poland; Tränarens utbrott efter storförlusten Polen - Rumänien. This was following a Group B qualifying game at Krynica, Poland. April 2012.
Here's the English language version of the official information webpage, which also has one in Swedish and Finnish: IIHF World Championship 2012 Finland/Sweden
hockey/championships/world- championships/finlandsweden- 2012/english.html
Aftonbladet's awesome hockey page: http://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/hockey/
Here's the official tourney merchandise page full of lots of intersting goodies: http://126.96.36.199/wm2012/Servlet
Here's the Swedish Facebook page that has lots of photos of the arena and the preparation: