Organisers have unveiled the mascot for the Championships with fans now able to vote for a name ©2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships

Organisers have announced that a bear will be the official mascot for the 2019 Men's Ice Hockey World Championships in Slovakia.

The mascot design was unveiled with the character claimed to be wearing ice hockey equipment and accessories inspired by Slovak folklore.

It is said the mascot is wearing a shepherd's belt and hat to show they are ready for challenges, while the body posture is said to feature poses from Slovak folklore dances which supports his national character.

The mascot will succeed "Goooly the Wolf", which entertained crowds the last time the country hosted the tournament in 2011.

"A bear as a mascot representing Slovakia symbolises strength, bravery, and fighting spirit," said Michaela Grendelová, head of media and communication for the tournament.

"At the same time it is a typical animal from our nature, and has an important position in Slovak folklore.

"These are the reasons why the bear is the natural successor of Goooly the Wolf.

"Last but not least, it also symbolises the desire to regain the strength of Slovak ice hockey.

"There is a reason for the saying 'strong as a bear'".

The name of the new mascot will be decided by fans on the official Facebook profile of the Championship.

It is claimed that nearly 15,000 name suggestions were made in 2011 for the previous mascot.

The name of the new mascot will be known to the public on August 27.

The first week of the competition will see fans submit their suggestions, with organisers deciding the best two names.

Fans will then be able to vote for the winner from the two choices available.

The author of the winning name and one of the voters will receive prizes with the World Championship logo.

The design of the mascot was claimed to have taken several months, with the bear chosen from three proposals.

"At first we had to find a suitable symbol, then suitable visual appearance, which had to fulfil production and communication criteria," said creative director Juraj Dvorecký from the agency Wiktor Leo Burnett.

"Finally we have completed the artistic performance.

"The final mascot won among three proposals, all of them were really strong candidates.

"We were deciding among ram, wolf, and bear."

Competition will take place from May 10 to 26 in Bratislava and Košice next year.

Sweden will seek their third consecutive World Championship title at the International Ice Hockey Federation event.