The joint bid of the two neighbouring countries won by a tight margin against the Finnish bid with the cities of Tampere and Helsinki. The proposed dates are 7-23 May 2021.
The 2017 IIHF Annual Congress voted with 55 votes to 52 to support the joint bid by Belarus and Latvia.
Previously Latvia held the World Ice Hockey Championships in 2006 at the Arena Riga and Skonto hall.
Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs was quick to highlight his belief in an open Europe. He also pointed out that beer is cheap hereabouts.
“I truly believe in a Europe with no borders and with passion. It would be a fantastic experience to show that Europe is about passion, not about borders. I truly believe in social responsibility. And that also means the prices for fans. They will not have to pay a lot. It’s just €2.20 for a beer and in Minsk it’s even cheaper,” said Riga Mayor Nils Ušakovs in his speech. And Minsk Mayor Andrei Shorets added that in Minsk it’s even less, just one euro.
Ice hockey is nothing short of a big deal in Latvia with games such as the clinched win against Belarus in the 2005 Olympic qualifiers occupying notable space in the national memory.