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Saturday,  May 25, 2024 2:17 PM 

Rail Europe, Thalys hit the ice for IIHF 2017

Rail Europe, Thalys hit the ice for IIHF 2017
Lina Wang, sales manager – overseas, Thalys; Melanie Albaric, marketing & communications manager, Rail Europe; Rares Dumitru, regional sales director – Canada, Rail Europe; Antje Splettstoesser, director, German National Tourist Office – Canada.
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

It was anything but an icy reception as Rail Europe welcomed agents to Toronto’s Maple Leaf Square last night, as European rail operator Thalys laces up its skates as official sponsor of the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Championship.

The Toronto event – which, fittingly, took place less than a day after the Toronto Maple Leafs opened their 2016-17 season – provided agents with an opportunity to learn more about Thalys and their involvement with the tournament, which will see 16 teams from around the world face off in 65 games, taking place in both Paris and Cologne, Germany from May 5-21, 2017.

Rares Dumitru, Rail Europe’s regional sales director for Canada, told PAX that 2017 will mark the first year the tournament is held between two cities, spurring the involvement of Thalys as official rail sponsor of the event. Rail packages for the IIHF tournament are currently booking via Rail Europe at

Dumitru said that it’s hoped Canadians will make the trip to Europe for the games, noting that this year’s IIHF championship will mark one of the last international tournaments to feature players from the National Hockey League, prior to the enactment of new regulations barring pro players from taking part.

According to Lina Wang, overseas sales manager for Thalys, the rail line operates across France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, with core-to-core connections between 25 cities. Travelling at up to 300km/h, the line is offering first and second class packages between Paris and Cologne for the tournament (starting at $119 and $75 respectively, per person, one-way). Wang said that during the tournament, Thalys will operate the route (which takes a little over three hours to travel) five times per day, carrying a maximum of 371 passengers on each train.

Of the overall allure of the rail experience, Dumitru said that “travellers want to do things the locals do and travel to places to brag about.”

“This is also a perfect family vacation,” he added.