As a Canadian currently living in southern Germany, I'm excited for next year's world championships in Koeln and Mannheim. I know it's still very early, but I'm already starting to plan my visit(s).
Aside from picking up some game tickets, I'm wondering what the atmosphere will be like outside of the arena itself. My understanding is that Koeln is a pretty big hockey town; do you think the event will receive a lot of visitors? If I walk into a pub will they be showing games on TV? Where would be some good spots to meet other hockey fans? Anyone else on here thinking of attending?
first of all, welcome to Germany. I also plan to attend some games in Cologne and already got my tickets for all the round robin games of the German group, so if you plan to attend some of the games, we can meet.
As for your other questions, I don't think that you can walk in any given pub and they will show hockey. Although Cologne can be considered a "hockey town", this label can't be compared to a Canadian hockey town. I am sure that the organizing committee will have planned some special events in the host cities and that you can pick up the games in some special pubs or sports bars, but in the end we have to acknowledge that hockey is only a niche sport in Germany and is dwarfed by soccer (which will be in its final stages of the league season when the IIHF championship takes place).
If you want to meet other hockey fans, I recommend to go to the games and talk to some people.
The two regular season games that I saw in Mannheim by far were the most amazing experiences I have ever had as a hockey spectator. You might find this hard to believe, but it blew away my experience at the USA/Canada World Cup game in Montreal, which I thought was absolutely amazing.