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The Last Game was first scheduled for April 2019. To allow a proper preparation and conduct of the event with the intended strong outcome, and to take full advantage of the partnerships and linkages established, UN Environment had to annul the 2019 event. Instead, together with our polar patron Slava Fetisov we are now looking into moving the event by one year and using the year 2019 for a sequence of run up events/matches, culminating with the North Pole game in April 2020. The updates of the project will be announced once this review is completed.

The Arctic is one of Earth’s most fragile ecosystems, disproportionally affected by climate change and warming at twice the average rate of the rest of the planet. To garner global attention and support for the rapidly disappearing ice in the Polar regions, UN Environment is organising “The last ice hockey game on the North Pole’.

The event, to be held on the North Pole in April 2019, is spearheaded by legendary Russian ice hockey player Viacheslav Fetisov, UN Environment Patron of the Polar Regions.

This symbolic ice hockey game aims at involving a great diversity of female and male players, including athletes from different disciplines and countries, Arctic indigenous peoples and youth. It will bring together sports and environment as agents of peace.

The Last Game is a contribution of UN Environment to the Paris Agreement implementation and is linked to the UN Secretary General's Climate Summit.

UN Secretary General @antonioguterres receives his #hockey stick and gloves to get ready ahead of the 'Last Game for the #Arctic'! The match will be played at the North Pole next April with new @UNEnvironment Polar Patron Slava Fetisov https://t.co/STNyhcYTaJ pic.twitter.com/2sOAScTemi

— UNEnvironment Europe (@UNEnvironmentEu) June 22, 2018


The context of the Last Game:

  • Arctic climate change already has a large impact on the ecosystem and people living in the region. Furthermore, Arctic climate change affects large parts of the planet, e.g. global sea level, permafrost thawing (release of the greenhouse gas methane), as well as floods and droughts in heavily populated areas such as Asia and Africa. 
  • With unprecedented and accelerating melting ice cover in the Arctic, there are already plans to explore new economic opportunities such as taking advantage of new marine routes and setting up new mining and drilling operations. 
  • These potential developments will challenge the pristine environment of the Arctic.

The objectives of the Last Game:

  • To demonstrate that the Arctic environment is very fragile and important for the well-being of all people on the planet.
  • To emphasize the value of collaboration, friendship and peace.
  • To raise attention to the rapid speed of the global warming, which is changing the face of the Artic in such a way that it may become nearly ice-free during the summer by 2040, (hence the title of the event).
  • To showcase state-of-the-art possibilities of holding sports events with a minimum environmental impact, even in such an extreme setting.

The Last Game itself:

  • There will be two captains, leading two teams of diverse players, from legendary professionals to absolute newbies, including renowned personalities from different fields, Arctic indigenous peoples and youth.
  • Viacheslav Fetisov, UN Environment Patron of the Polar Regions, will be one of the captains.
  • There will be no official winners or losers, but the Arctic will come out triumphant.

The logistics of the Last Game:

  • The Last Game can only accommodate a very limited amount of people for environmental and logistic reasons, therefore there will be no spectators brought to the North Pole.
  • However, the game will be broadcast across the world, and numerous global media are already lining up for participation and coverage.

Despite the operational complexity, the aim is to ensure that the event has the minimum environmental impact on the North Pole and that all the unavoidable CO2 emissions associated with the preparation and celebration of the game are offset.

Slava Fetisov Vyacheslav Fetisov
Legendary ice hockey player and UN Environment Patron for the Polar Regions

Vyacheslav Fetisov’s main achievements have taken place on ice. Born in Moscow in 1958, this legendary Soviet ice hockey player is considered one of the best defensemen in the history of ice hockey. 

He has won all the major hockey trophies… and not just once. He has been World Champion seven times and nine times European Champion. He has won two Olympic gold medals and one silver medal. He won the USSR’s Championship thirteen consecutive years from 1977. In North America, he won the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Stanley Cup twice as a player and once as the coach of the NJ Devils. Vyacheslav Fetisov has been inducted to the National Hockey League and the International Ice Hockey Federation Halls of Fame. 

imageAnnie Thorisdottir

Annie Thorisdottir is a professional CrossFit athlete from Reykjavík, Iceland. Annie is the first woman to win the CrossFit Games twice (in 2011 and 2012). She placed second in the 2010 and 2014 CrossFit Games and third at the 2017 CrossFit Games. Annie has a background in gymnastics, ballet, and pole vaulting. She is the co-owner of Crossfit Reykjavik, where she also coaches and trains.




imageJohann Koss
Norwegian Olympic speed-skating champion, Founder of Right To Play International and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador

Norwegian speed skater Johann Koss is considered to be one of the greatest winter Olympians of all time. He has won four Olympic gold medals. 1994 was his standout year when he won three gold medals as well as setting three world records at the Olympic Games! He was also crowed world champion on three occasions.In addition, he is an internationally recognized social entrepreneur: In 2000, he founded the Right To Play NGO which currently operates in more than 20 countries reaching two million children each week. He also worked as UNICEF goodwill ambassador. Today Johann is leading Waratah Capital Advisors’ Environmental, Social and Governance initiative.

imageJari Kurri 

Kurri was named General Manager of Jokerit during the 2013-14 season. He's in charge of leading the club's sports department alongside Director of Player Personnel Janne Vuorinen. During Kurr's time as GM, Jokerit has made the KHL playoffs in all four seasons since 2014-15. From 2002 until 2006 Kurri was an assistant coach in the Finnish national team and was named GM of Team Finland after that. During Kurri's time Finland won gold in the IIHF World Championships in 2011, Olympic silver in 2006 and bronze in 2010. The Finns also reached the final of the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and got silver in the 2007 and 2014 World Championships as well as bronze in 2006 and 2008.

Kurri, a Jokerit junior player in his youth, has represented the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Colorado Avalanche in the NHL. Kurri won five Stanley Cups with the Oilers and played a total of 1251 regular season games in the NHL scoring 601 goals and 1398 points altogether. He's the third-leading scorer among European players in the league's history behind Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selänne. In Jokerit, Kurri won the European Cup during the 1994-95 season. In the national team he got silver in the 1994 World Championships and bronze in the 1998 Olympics. Kurri's famous number 17 has been retired by Jokerit, the Finnish national team and Edmonton Oilers.


imageDerek Whitson

Derek Whitson is a two-time Canadian Paralympian in the sport of Para ice hockey. Derek was born in Ontario, Canada with cerebral palsy that affected both of his legs. He was a part of the 2013 World Para Ice Hockey Championships gold medal winning team and the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games bronze medal team. Whitson also was a goaltender with Canada’s seven-a-side football team.

He competed at the 2007 Pan-American Games in Rio de Janeiro earning a bronze medal for Canada. As a retired athlete, Derek now has a passion for bringing parasport to the next generation of athletes with impairment. He is also a big advocate of gender equality in sport through his work as the assistant coach of the Canadian Women’s National Para Ice Hockey Team.


imageDr René Fasel 
The referee of the Last Game

Dr René Fasel was elected IIHF President in June 1994 at the Congress in Venice. A dentist by trade, Fasel was born on 6 February 1950 in Fribourg, Switzerland. He played for HC Fribourg-Gottéron in the amateur division before moving into international refereeing.As a referee, he officiated in 37 international games. In 1985, Fasel became president of the Swiss Ice Hockey Association, and in 1986 was elected as IIHF Council member. 

When René Fasel became Dr Sabetzki's successor as IIHF President, the world federation steeped in tradition entered a new era. The new President was anxious to establish a closer contact with the professional organizations in North America and consolidated the relations between IIHF and NHL. It is thanks in no small part to René Fasel's efforts that in 1998, at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, the NHL’s top professional players competed for the first time at an Olympic Games. The integration of In-Line Hockey into the IIHF and the foundation of the European Hockey League were other long-term projects realized during Fasel's presidency. Learn more


imageMichael Thomas Richter 
A Hall of Fame, Stanley Cup Champion, World Champion, Olympic Medalist hockey goalie. 

He is widely considered to be one of the most successful American-born goaltenders of all time and was consistently ranked among the world's top goaltenders. 

His environment credentials and accomplishments are equally superlative. 

Richter was awarded a degree from Yale University  in Ethics, Politics, and Economics with a concentration in Environmental Policy.

He is a founding partner at Healthy Planet Partners, a sustainable power finance and consulting group, and Environmental Capital Partners, a private equity fund focusing on resource efficiency.[4] Richter serves on the Board of Directors for Riverkeeper, the Board of Trustees for the Adirondack Nature Conservancy, and is a member of the National Advisory Council for the Sierra Club.[5] He collaborates with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in their effort to bring the best ecological practices to the sports industry. He  launched Athletes for a Healthy Planet, dedicated to fostering the connections between environmental issues, human health, economy, social justice, and well-being.

He is the chairman of the Aspen Institute's Sport and Society Program dedicated to improving the quality and quantity of athletic participation in society. He is the NHL Ambassador to Beyond Sport, an NGO chaired by Tony Blair, whose mission is to use the power of sport to promote social change.











Alejandro Laguna, Regional Information Officer, Europe
E: laguna[at]un.org
T: +41-22-917-8404

Jan Dusik, Principal Advisor, Strategic Engagement for the Arctic and Antarctic
E: jan.dusik[at]un.org
T: +41-22-917-82-31