Testing wraps up at women's ice hockey sport event; medal round games mark final competitions of 18 sport events in 2008-2009 to test VANOC operational readiness

    VANCOUVER, Sept. 6 /CNW/ - As the final pucks drop today for the medal
round games of the women's ice hockey sport event at General Motors Place, the
Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter
Games (VANOC) will complete its testing of Games-time operations. The sport
event has featured the top four ranked countries in women's ice hockey and is
the last of 18 sport events in the 2008-2009 winter season where VANOC has
conducted operational testing in preparation for the Games.
    During the hockey tournament's seven days of training and competition,
VANOC focused on training Games-time volunteers and testing both field of play
and venue operations. Approximately 28,000 spectators attended the tournament
overall, including the medal round games.
    "We're thrilled with the performance of our workforce. The teamwork and
collaboration with the GM Place workforce has been outstanding, too, and gives
us great confidence that we have the right people in the right place for
Games-time," said Denis Hainault, VANOC's general manager for the venue, which
is known at Games-time as Canada Hockey Place. "We've learned more about the
venue, our workforce and the technology that we'll be putting into place next
February and the tournament has been a great momentum builder for 2010."
    During the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, five women's ice hockey
games will be played at Canada Hockey Place, including the medal round
matches, with the remaining 15 games played at the University of British
Columbia's Thunderbird Arena, also known as the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird
Sports Centre. Twenty-eight men's ice hockey games will be played at Canada
Hockey Place, with two played at UBC. Remaining tickets for men's and women's
matches will go on sale later this fall at www.vancouver2010.com
    "Canada's a hockey country, so I am very honoured to play here," said
Team Finland's assistant captain Saara Tuominen, commenting on her team's
experience at the tournament. "It's really helpful and important mentally to
know the facility. It builds confidence for our team to come here and play in
the building; to learn the bounce off the boards, the layout of the building,
the dressing rooms, and the people. When we come back for the Games we'll feel
more comfortable."
    This is the second sport event held with Hockey Canada in a Games venue
this year. In March, a Hockey Canada Cup for ice sledge hockey was held at UBC
Thunderbird Arena involving four countries.
    "Our impression from this sport event is overwhelmingly positive," said
IIHF Sports Director and technical delegate Dave Fitzpatrick. "The facilities
are high quality and all the testing was successful. The team responsible for
the ice hockey venues has done an excellent job and we are very confident that
this will lead to a perfect implementation of Olympic ice hockey events at
both UBC Thunderbird Arena and Canada Hockey Place."


    By the end of the tournament, approximately 280 workforce, including 180
volunteers from across Canada, will have participated in more than 1,600
shifts. VANOC also worked with 100 Canucks Sports & Entertainment staff that
will also be part of the venue team during the Games.

    Field of Play

    Adjustments to the dasher board system were made to expand the penalty
boxes for players and officials to follow the IIHF Games-time protocol. The
installation was successful and met with the approval of the IIHF. VANOC
worked closely with GM Place staff to learn more about the building's air
handling and refrigeration systems to ensure optimum ice conditions.

    Venue Operations

    General venue operations were tested, including spectator services,
workforce and athlete flows and overall spectator accessibility. A temporary
wall was constructed on the P1 level of the arena's underground parking
garage, providing valuable information for the future construction of 35
temporary rooms at Games-time. VANOC also successfully tested a newly
installed bolting system that allows for a quick change-out of 2,000 spectator
seats, which will be critical to the smooth execution of adapting the venue to
its Games-time configuration in January 2010.

    Press Operations

    Approximately 75 accredited media were hosted at the Venue Media Centre.
Photo positions, media access control processes, athlete mixed zone
operations, the Virtual LAN or VLAN system, hockey net cameras for media, and
WiFi capabilities for photography were tested positive results. The Olympic
News Service, which collects and distributes sport event news to the media,
trained 20 Games-time volunteers.

    Timing, scoring and results

    Timing, scoring, results and television graphics were tested
simultaneously between UBC Thunderbird Arena and GM Place. Working with
worldwide Olympic partner Omega, VANOC was able to successfully integrate its
technology platform with GM Place's existing state-of-the-art video
scoreboard. The women's ice hockey sport event also enabled VANOC, Atos Origin
and Omega to successfully integrate technology, processes and workforce in a
real-time environment, test all Games-time applications and train 75
volunteers from across Canada and the United States.


    Eleven volunteers, including six chaperones and five doping control
officers, worked with VANOC to learn about the flow of competition and conduct
in-competition urine tests. All four women's hockey teams had access to an
anti-doping athlete outreach booth at their hotel to learn more about the
World Anti-Doping Agency and the Vancouver 2010 Anti-Doping Program.
    Consistent with previous sport events, VANOC also tested its sport
production and medical services functions, with the medical team further
refining its medical protocol for on ice incident and spectator care during

    Summary of Sport event testing and next steps in venue preparations

    Since February 2008, VANOC has conducted operational testing at 18 sport
events staged with an overall budget of $16.1 million. Each event has resulted
in key learnings and refinements to VANOC's plans for the Vancouver 2010
Winter Games and valuable feedback from international sport federations.
Equally important, the events have given media, officials and athletes a
chance to experience their Games-time environment.
    For spectators, the 18 sport events have offered a chance to enjoy the
sport disciplines that will be showcased at the Games and become familiar with
the world's best winter sport athletes likely to compete in 2010. For many, it
has been a chance to experience for the first time the newly built or
renovated sport venues that will host the athletes and remain long after the
Games as legacy facilities for both high performance and recreational use.
    Over the course of the 18 events, the Games host region has welcomed over
2,500 athletes from more than 30 countries, with an average of 120 accredited
media covering each event (domestic and international) and a total estimated
on-site spectator attendance of approximately 98,000.
    The next stage in preparing the venues for the Games is the complex task
of making them competition ready by installing temporary items such as
additional seating, lighting, banners, cables, timing and scoring equipment,
signage, and scaffolding for camera positions. This process has already
started at some venues and will be ongoing at all venues until Games time.
Public access during this critical final phase will be extremely limited.

    About VANOC

    VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging
of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The
2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from
February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the 2010 Paralympic
Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Bridget Cox, VANOC
Communications, (604) 403-4502, Bridget_cox@vancouver2010.com

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