Sauli Niinistö is to act as IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship patron for the second year in a row ©Getty Images

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö has agreed to act as a patron for the 2023 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Ice Hockey World Championship, which is set to be held in Tampere and the Latvian capital city of Riga.

Niinistö opened the 2022 Championship when it was held in Tampere and Helsinki, where he was also patron.

"The President is known to be a fan of exercise and sports, and it is an honour to have him as a patron of an event whose values emphasise the great experiences that come from exercise," said Heikki Hietanen, general secretary of the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Organising Committee.

"Whether it's pond hockey or the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, they both give us a sense of community and fun."

Finland are the defending men's world champions ©Getty Images
Finland are the defending men's world champions ©Getty Images

The theme of the Championship is "We Live the Game", representing "the emotions that are experienced both inside and outside the ice hockey rink."

Saint Petersburg in Russia was supposed to host the Championship, but the IIHF stripped the city of hosting rights after the war in Ukraine started.

Hungary and Slovenia bid to co-host the event, but this fell through, meaning Finland and Latvia stepped in - with this being confirmed in May 2022.