Greatest show on ice

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

Hans Rundqvist has followed his daughter to two World Women's Hockey Championships in Canada.

The Stockholm resident attended the 2004 tournament in Halifax, and he took in the 2007 version this week in Winnipeg. He said it's no contest when talking about the city that did the better job of hosting.

"It's better here," Rundqvist said yesterday afternoon. "Everyone's so friendly, and everyone loves hockey. It's been super."

Rundqvist spent nine days in Winnipeg watching his daughter, Danijela, take on the world. He loves the MTS Centre, he loves the fact that his hotel was only "100 metres" from the arena, and he loves the hockey-mad culture.

He also thought it was pretty cool that Mona Steen, the wife of former Winnipeg Jet Thomas Steen, served as a team host for his daughter's squad.

Rundqvist's review will be music to the ears of Polly Craik, the Winnipeg woman who took on the role of tournament chairwoman and delivered a winner. Craik and her crew sold 120,801 tickets for the eight-day event. That smashed Halifax's WWHC record of 89,461.

"I'm feeling really good today," Craik said yesterday as she watched Sweden take on Finland in the bronze-medal match.

Craik has no reason to believe the tournament wasn't a smashing success, especially when she thinks back to the daily directorate meetings she had with representatives from the nine participating countries.

"That's where everybody has to voice any concerns," she said. "There were none."

Craik didn't disagree when it was suggested that perhaps there is no better location than Winnipeg to conduct an event like the women's worlds. It would likely get lost in Canada's larger markets, and the smaller cities wouldn't have such a large fan base.

"It just seems like the perfect place," she said. "... With Winnipeg and the fan base and the volunteer base that we have here, certainly Hockey Canada and others hopefully realize that we're capable of putting on world-class events and with results."

Craik is especially proud of the ovation German goaltender Viona Harrer got after her outstanding performance against Canada. She is thrilled to have given Russia and Germany a crowd of more than 10,000 -- mostly schoolchildren -- to play in front of on Monday. She is glad that the rural areas got involved by hosting training camps before the event.

"All in all, it's been fabulous," she said. "... Everybody's really enjoyed it, and what we accomplished most in my eyes is people have now just a greater respect for women's hockey and the game that they can put on for everybody to see.

"And I hope that some momentum can carry on from this."

The tournament will be held in China next year.


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