Sixteen of the world’s best hockey teams will invade Helsinki and Stockholm for the 2013 World Ice Hockey Championships from May 3 through 19. Though most of the action will be on the ice, we found a host of Helsinki hot spots for parties, food and accommodations to enjoy before and after face-off. Here are the highlights.
Where To Party
The Hockey Garden is housed in the massive marquee right outside Hartwall Arena, where Helsinki’s portion of the play will take place. The excitement is palpable with devoted hockey fans milling about before the impending matches. The space will have big screens blaring with music clips and hockey commentary, and you might even get the chance to have an autograph signed by one of the players. Kids are welcome to get in on the fun with adults, but curfew is at 8:30 p.m. The Garden is open two hours before and one hour after every match and entrance is free.
If you’re leaving the junior wingers at home, join the throngs at the Raffaello Terrace, official bar of the games. Here, too, the big screens will air the action as well as spotlight DJs and live rock ‘n roll bands that will keep the spirits buoyant. You’re surrounded by several restaurants at this spot, with highlights being the tapas from Barcelona, pizza from Rafaello or casual dining at König with burger and beer specials laid on for the fun and games.
Where To Eat
If you need something more substantial than tapas, there are several options. Stefan’s Steakhouse will satisfy with its Finnish entrecôte, Australian Black Angus or Wagyu steak served with lashings of fine sauce such as cognac and pepper. There’s also the favorite surf ’n’ turf — lobster with garlic sauce or glow-fried whitefish — for those hockey fans who aren’t in the mood for red meat.
After a grueling contest, calm the nerves in the elegant wood- and bamboo-styled interior of Yume at Hotel Kämp. Fancy cooking your own meal? Choose from an array of Asian street food that you can prepare yourself for the table using the hot stones. Whitefish sashimi with garlic and chili sauce or spicy meatballs will get your taste buds going. Sumatran lamb curry or braised pork belly send the stomach into a blissful state. Any other gaps are filled by chocolate/chili ice cream.
Where To Stay
Of course, all of the excitement between the pipes means you’re going to need somewhere relaxing to recharge every night — and that’s where the boutique hotel Klaus K comes in. The property’s staff is unpretentious. The rooms are plush with high-end touches that come in the form of Indian cotton sheets and hand-selected Malin & Goetz body cosmetics. The Ahjo Bar is a mixture of décor for whatever mood you might find yourself in after all of the hockey. If it’s a quiet drink you need, the plush sofas and soft lighting in the corner fit the bill. But for the after-party animals, the large table turns into a pool table and the dance floor beckons. And don’t forget to stop by the Living Room to try one of its deliriously delicious reindeer sliders.
Photos Courtesy of Yume, Klaus K Hotel, Ravintola.fi and iStock-Oleksiy Mark