Luc Tardif is the new president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, winning a dramatic four-round election at the IIHF Congress in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Tardif, the president of the French Ice Hockey Federation since 2006, defeated German Ice Hockey Federation president Franz Reindl, by a vote of 67-39 (63.2%) in the fourth and final round. He will serve a five-year term.
“René asked me eight years ago to be treasurer - I totally invested myself in this mission, but I’m still a hockey guy and I know I can offer more,” Tardif said, addressing president Fasel and colleagues immediately after winning the lengthy election.
“I humbly come in front of you - I have only my determination, my crazy passion for this sport, my sense of teamwork, my respect for people and my honesty to offer. Believe me I will do everything to be at your level of expectation.”
Tardif, 68, who has citizenship in France and Canada, was first elected to the IIHF Council in 2012, where he served as treasurer. He also led the organizing committee of the 2017 IIHF World Championships in Paris and was Chef de Mission for the French delegation at the Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games.
“I am committed to opening up our beautiful sport, promoting it, defending it, preparing it for the future and above all representing it with dignity,” Tardif continued.
The veteran hockey official played junior hockey in Canada and professional hockey in Belgium and France. Prior to his 15 years as president of the French federation, he was also head of the ice hockey department from 2000-2006.
Tardif added: “Alone we go faster, but together we go further,” while thanking president Fasel, who opted not to run for re-election, for the opportunities afforded to him.
The four rounds of voting and tallying paper ballots, including a technical problem involving those off site in the opening round, required three hours in total.
The election to replace the longstanding IIHF president of 27 years, opened with five candidates: Tardif, Reindl, Sergey Gontcharov of Belarus, Henrik Bach Nielsen of Denmark and Petr Briza of the Czech Republic.
Briza was eliminated as the lowest vote getter in the first round, Nielsen in the second and Gontcharov in the third, ultimately making it a two-horse race. In the third round, Tardif obtained 51 votes to Reindl’s 34 and Gontcharov’s 20, just coming up short of a simple majority with 48.6%.
Of the 103 voting member from IIHF National Associations, only the nations not present in St. Petersburg voted electronically. Technical difficulties involving the virtual voters in the first round caused delays as they were requested to re-do their electronic ballots.
Tardif becomes the second French president of the IIHF, after Louis Magnus, who was the organization’s founding president, serving from 1908 to 1912, and 1914. The IIHF headquarters in Zurich are named “Villa Louis Magnus” in honor of him.
Fasel opened the final day of his final IIHF Congress after 27 years as president of the organization. On Friday, the Swiss-born president and IOC member was honored, being inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame. Fasel also suited up as referee, one of his other former hockey professions, for a Legends Game on Thursday evening in St. Petersburg.
In another election, Briza was chosen as IIHF senior vice-president over Canada’s Bob Nicholson in the second round of voting. Fourteen Council members were also elected on Saturday, all of whom will serve five-year terms.
Forty-nine of 76 member national associations were represented in Russia for the four-day meeting with 320 delegates attending.
Tardif is immediately thrown into the fire with the Beijing Olympic Winter Games less than five months away. While National Hockey League stars will return to the Olympic stage, after being forced out of PyeongChang 2018, important details and logistics still need to be finalized.
Follow Brian on Twitter - @Brian_Pinelli