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Igor Shesterkin made 12 of his 25 saves in the third period and Russia completed the six-game Subway Super Series by holding off the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League 3-2 in Rimouski, Quebec, on Thursday.
Russia won four of the six games against teams from each of North America's top three junior leagues. The Russians won both games against the Western Hockey League and split two games against the Ontario Hockey League and the QMJHL.
Ivan Fishchenko opened the scoring at 16:06 of the first period when he beat QMJHL goaltender Philippe Desrosiers (Dallas Stars) for his first goal of the series. Vladimir Bryukvin and Vyacheslav Leschenko, each of whom is eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, scored in a span of 5:21 in the second period to put Russia up by three.
Shesterkin (New York Rangers) was less than 13 minutes from earning his second shutout of the series; he shut out the OHL 4-0 on Nov. 13. But Nicolas Meloche, who's also 2015 draft-eligible, scored with 12:49 remaining to break up the shutout bid, and Anthony Deluca's power-play goal with 7:29 to play cut Russia's lead to one goal.
Shesterkin, who was in goal for three of Russia's four victories in the series, made 12 saves in the first and third periods; Russia outshot the QMJHL 8-1 in the second.
Desrosiers finished with 18 saves.
Korea's national men's ice hockey team confirmed 22-man squad kick off its campaign for the 2014-15 Euro Ice Hockey Challenge tournament, with new players and former Stanley Cup champ Jim Paek on the coaching post.
The world 23rd ranked Koreans will flew to Budapest, Hungary, on Nov. 4, to take on world No. 19 Hungary on Nov. 7, No. 18 Italy on Nov. 8 and No. 24 Poland on Nov. 9,
The games will be the debut stage of Paek, two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992 and returned his mother country this summer to coach its sluggish national ice hockey team ahead of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on home soil.
In a bid to overhaul the team, Paek called up unfamiliar faces to his squad, especially for the critical goalie position, which is the weak point for the Korean national team at international stages.
He invited Canadian goaltender Matt Dalton as a "guest player." The KIHA said the 28-year-old seeks to represent Korea after acquiring dual-citizenship.
Dalton played in the Kontinental Hockey League, the second largest ice hockey league behind the NHL, during the past three seasons and now plays for Anyang Halla, showing outstanding performance of 1.69 goals against average in 14 Asia League Ice Hockey games.
Paek also called up rookie Park Kye-hoon, 22, of Korea University who displayed solid defense during a match against Yonsei University on Oct. 10.
The Euro Ice Hockey Challenge is a yearly series of national ice hockey tournaments held between the international breaks defined by the International Ice Hockey Federation. This is the second break of the 2014-15 season. Other countries including France, Austria, Slovenia and Norway will join the tournament in Slovenia and Norway.
Not only European nations but also Asian teams including Japan and Korea occasionally participate into the tournament.
The Canadian women's hockey team opens defence of the Four Nations Cup on Tuesday in Kamloops, B.C.
The annual international women's hockey tournament also features the United States, Finland and Sweden.
Canada's first opponent is Sweden. The top two teams in the preliminary round meet in Saturday's final at the Interior Savings Centre.
Here are five things to know about the Four Nations Cup:
— When Canada and the U.S. square off in the preliminary round Wednesday, it will be their first meeting since the dramatic Olympic gold-medal game in Sochi, Russia. Trailing 2-0, the Canadians scored twice in the last four minutes and again in overtime to rescue the gold medal. The Americans hit the post on what could have been an empty-net winner with just over a minute to go. Canada has 10 players at the Four Nations from its Olympic roster, while the Americans are taking a dozen Sochi veterans to Kamloops.
— Canada lost a premier player just a week out from the Four Nations. Marie-Philip Poulin of Beauceville, Que., who scored the equalizer with 55 seconds left and the overtime winner in the Sochi gold-medal game, won't play in Kamloops because of an undisclosed injury. The Boston University captain was hurt in a Terriers game against Maine. Brianne Jenner of Oakville, Ont., who scored the first goal of the comeback in Sochi, replaced Poulin on the host team's roster.
— Caroline Ouellette, Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford were among the warhorses Hockey Canada left at home to start grooming a new generation of leaders. Haley Irwin of Thunder Bay, Ont., will be Canada's captain in Kamloops. Rebecca Johnston of Sudbury, Ont., Lauriane Rougeau of Beaconsfield, Que., and Toronto's Natalie Spooner will be assistant captains.
— Jamie Lee Rattray leads 10 players in their debut with the national team. The Ottawa forward capped her final season at Clarkson by winning the Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in NCAA Division 1 women's hockey. She now plays in the Canadian Women's Hockey League for Brampton. Forward Jillian Saulnier of Halifax was a finalist for the Kazmaier award and is in her senior year with Cornell.
— Finland finished out of the medals in Sochi, but took their greatest strides yet in closing the gap on Canada and the U.S. For the first time, they engaged the North Americans at both ends of the ice instead of relying on defence and a lucky goal. The Finns fell 3-1 to the U.S. and 3-0 to Canada in Sochi. A quarter-final loss to Sweden kept them from a semifinal rematch with the U.S., but Finland has what it takes to challenge for world gold.
Slightly more than two years ago the current incarnation of the women's Mexican National Ice Hockey Team gathered in Mexico City and took to the rink for the first time as a group. It did not go well. The players could barely maintain their balance. Eventually, they were able to get enough momentum to move across the ice, but many then learned that stopping was just as big of a problem.
Joaquin de la Garma—head of the Mexican Hockey Federation—watched in disbelief as almost each member of the team crashed into the boards because none of them knew how to slow down.
"I was like Bambi," recalls forward Claudia Tellez in Spanish.
For a moment, the 61-year-old de la Garma—who had been involved in the sport for almost 50 years—wondered what he had gotten himself into. Had he dreamed too big?
Several months prior, de la Garma had concocted what seemed like an almost illogical plan. He wanted to get a Mexican team qualified for the Olympics in ice hockey. The path was far too difficult for the men's team. So he decided to focus on the women instead. The only problem was that Mexico had no semblance of a women's hockey team. The Mexican Federation had been a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) since 1985, but up to that point no women's team had ever participated in an official IIHF competition.
De la Garma wrote a proposal asking for funding and submitted it to CONADE, Mexico's department of sport and physical fitness. Amazingly, the budget was approved. He was told that then-new Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto was going to make a push to improve the quality of sport in Mexico.
Getting Mexico qualified for the Olympics in any team sport would be an admirable accomplishment. To do so in ice hockey—in particular with a women's team at a time when Mexico continues to cling to antiquated gender roles—would be a remarkable achievement for the Peña Nieto administration. The new president could claim to be a progressive women's advocate, at least when it comes to hockey.
But de la Garma still had to start from scratch. The task seemed almost impossible. First he contacted the pool of local club team players, but that was hardly enough to build a team. So he queried members of Mexico's national inline hockey team. Starved for support—without standing as an official Olympic sport, inline hockey receives little to no government funding despite being a popular sport in Mexico—the inline players were intrigued. De la Garma tempted them with wild notions of Olympic glory. And so they arrived in Mexico City, from far north and south, to try their game on ice.
And at first—in those first few moments on the ice—they were humiliated. But that didn't last. They played their first exhibition match on Feb. 12, 2012, a 1-0 loss to Argentina. A day later they beat Argentina 7-1. They improved with each match.
In March 2014, Mexico participated in the IIHF's Women's World Championship Division II Group B qualification tournament. A tournament win would send them into the IIHF's fourth—and lowest—tier of women's hockey. They beat Hong Kong 1-0 in the final to finally land on the IIHF map. They will participate in next year's Womens' World Championship Division II Group B tournament for a chance to advance to the third tier.
So now, amazingly, the women's Mexican national hockey team is on a path that could very well get them entered into the Olympic qualifying tournament in 2017 where they could earn one of the eight women's Olympic bids. Mexico has to win every world championship tournament from here until then, but the task that seemed impossible two years ago is now merely improbable.
"If they continue to make improvements at the same rate they've made improvements," said Rick Cornacchia, the Canadian-based coach who serves as the team's technical advisor, "they have a realistic opportunity."
Hockey has a longer history in Mexico than one might imagine—albeit an unheralded one. The federation says on its website that ice hockey was first played in Mexico in 1957. Mexico City residents became entranced with ice skating after a traveling Holiday on Ice revue held a series of performances in the city that year. Citizens asked for the rink to remain operational.
The game became popular among private school kids. But hockey never took off nationally because there were few facilities—the federation estimates there are still fewer than 30 ice rinks in all of Mexico—where people could play. Also, the sport was expensive.
But ice hockey gained a cult status in Mexico City, and that's where the federation was founded. The men's national team played its first official IIHF match in 2000. They currently sit in Division II Group A, the fifth tier—out of six—of men's international hockey. A team must win its group world championship (these are held annually) in order to advance into the next group. The competition on the men's side is much more fierce since more countries play men's hockey than they do women's hockey. While the men's team has dramatically improved since 2000, they still do not play at a level to compete with the best teams in the world.
"You need to have at least half the team playing in the NHL," de la Garma said in Spanish of the possibility of a potential men's Olympic bid. "We have none. It would be years before we could even think of that happening."
The women have fewer obstacles. For that reason, the 30-year-old Tellez uprooted her life in Guadalajara to move to Mexico City. All of the 28-person national team—ages ranging from 15-32—player pool is based in the capital.
"I want to get to the Olympic games," Tellez said. "That's my dream. I'm not living in Mexico City for work. I'm here for hockey."
Tellez wakes up early each morning and heads to the gym to work out. She returns home, eats breakfast, and then showers before heading to a local ice rink to teach skating lessons. Most of the players teach ice skating classes in exchange for ice time at local rinks. Tellez also spends her afternoons working as an administrator for the federation. All of the players have jobs, most of them obtained for them by de la Garma. None of the players can afford to live as hockey players.
CONADE provides the players with housing and food and a monthly stipend of $2,000 pesos (approximately $150), which is hardly enough for other living expenses. Once players end their day at work they must show up to the rink for team practice that usually begins at 10:30 p.m. Team practices are held three times a week, although that will move up to four to five times a week in December.
"My whole time is dedicated to the sport," Tellez said.
To accelerate the learning curve, the federation hired Cornacchia to work with the team. He travels to Mexico a couple times a year. Aside from having the team play games, Cornacchia makes players watch video to teach them the intricacies of the game.
"I can't believe the improvement to be honest with you, it's leaps and bounds," he said.
The emergence of a women's league in Mexico has also helped the quality of play for the national team. The league, which was founded two years ago with only two teams, now boasts five teams.
The team will also travel to the U.S. and Canada for camps and to work with Cornacchia. All of these trips are funded by CONADE. The group's most recent trip to Toronto for a camp cost an estimated $1.5 million pesos ($75,000), according to de la Garma.
Facilities in Mexico have improved with governmental support. The construction of the Olympic sized IceDome in Mexico City has helped the national team tremendously. There are also plans to build a state of the art facility at the Cuidad de Deportes complex in the national's capital.
Earlier this year, Mexico hosted the first ever Pan American Ice Hockey Tournament, which was almost entirely funded by CONADE, according to de la Garma. National teams from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Canada participated and only had to pay their airfare. CONADE provided everything else.
De la Garma recently determined it would cost almost $3 million pesos if the team advanced to the pre Olympic tournament. CONADE has pledged to pay for all of it.
"We are receiving strong economic support for anything we need in order to qualify for the Olympics," de la Garma said.
The first step for Olympic qualification begins next year in March at the Division II Group B championships in Jaca, Spain. Mexico will face Spain, Australia, Belarus, Slovakia and Iceland.
Cornacchia believes Mexico has a strong chance to win the tournament because of its excellent goalkeeping. In a nod to the team's non-traditional roots, inline hockey goalkeepers usually have the easiest transition into ice hockey. On that first day the team assembled in Mexico City, the goalkeepers—while the rest of the team slipped and fell—were mostly able to maintain their balance.
The 88th Spengler Cup hockey tournament begins Dec. 26 in Davos, Switzerland. The Herald’s Jason van Rassel attended the 2013 Spengler and makes the case for its inclusion on the serious hockey fan’s bucket list.
THE HISTORY: A generation reared on Don Cherry’s jingoistic chest-beating about hockey being “our game” has grown up without much of an appreciation for the sport’s proud history and tradition in Europe. Dr. Carl Spengler — an avid fan of the host club, HC Davos — donated a trophy and started the tournament in 1923 as a way of fostering friendly competition between nations that had been on opposite sides during the First World War. A Team Canada comprised of Canadians playing in Europe has participated in the Spengler since 1984, winning the tournament 12 times — the last time in 2012, when a squad stacked with locked-out NHLers topped the six-team competition. Last year’s winning club, Genève-Servette, was founded in 1905 — making it four years older than the storied Montreal Canadiens.
THE ALPS: The World Junior tournament is the undisputed choice for most Canadian fans seeking a hockey fix between servings of turkey. But let’s face it: it’s primarily a couch-bound experience. Few Canadians actually travel any great distance to watch the WJC in person — and on the (now rare) occasions it’s held outside Canada, it’s in backwaters like Ufa, Russia. The Spengler takes place against the backdrop of the Swiss Alps. The whole region is one big ski-in, ski-out resort, with access to chairlifts from the middle of Davos and right next to several local train stations. Between games, you can take in the view while skating on one of Europe’s largest outdoor rinks, beside the arena. A weeklong hockey party in the Swiss Alps? Yes, please.
THE VENUE: Vaillant Arena, home of HC Davos, is a hockey cathedral with a soaring wooden roof built to cover and enclose the club’s outdoor rink in the early 1980s. With a capacity of just over 7,000, there isn’t a bad seat in the house and tickets are relatively affordable compared to NHL ducats: ranging from $160 for the best seats to less than $40 for a standing room ticket. It feels like one of the old barns that were common in the NHL and major junior leagues a generation ago: basic concession stands behind the seats sling cheap beer, fresh pretzels and delicious sausages. The fans are knowledgeable and vocal, loudly whistling in response to bad calls and providing a steady soundtrack of chants and songs during the game — and they do it without any prompting from the scoreboard.
THE HOCKEY: It’s a friendly tournament, but pride is on the line for some of Europe’s top clubs and Team Canada, so there’s an intensity to the games. The international-size ice surface makes for wide-open play and teams usually have an assortment of former NHLers. How does the calibre of play stack up? It’s not the NHL, but it’s respectable: in last year’s tournament, the Rochester Americans — the Buffalo Sabres’ top farm team — didn’t win a game in three matches against Genève-Servette, CSKA Moscow (which featured former Nashville Predators top prospect Alexander Radulov and six-time NHL all-star Sergei Fedorov) and Team Canada.
THE COST (AND KEEPING IT DOWN): Switzerland is famously expensive, but you don’t need to be a jet-setter to spend Christmastime in the Alps. With a bit of planning, you can rent a house or apartment via sites like Airbnb. We stayed in a village an hour by train from Davos and what we spent on train fare and groceries was far less what we would have paid for a hotel room and restaurant meals. SBB, the Swiss train network, has discounts and promotions for tourists — though the website can be baffling. If you land in Zurich, there’s an SBB office at the airport train terminal where an agent can help you pick the best deal. In Davos, even a relatively casual restaurant meal can cost nearly $100 for two, but cheap eats aren’t impossible to find: sidewalk stands sell hotdogs, gluhwien (mulled wine) and beer. Coop, a Swiss grocery chain, has a reasonably-priced, cafeteria-style restaurant in the centre of Davos.
IF YOU GO: Game tickets went on sale Sept. 29 at www.spenglercup.ch. A second allotment of tickets — including standing room spots — goes on sale Nov. 22.
As a two-part series, THW will examine the state of ice hockey in the Netherlands. In this first instalment, we’ll take a look at hockey’s early history, Dutch leagues and the national governing body.
What comes to mind when thinking of the Netherlands likely consists of canals, stroopwafels, cheese and windmills. When zeroing in on the sports world, everyone naturally makes references to speed skating and soccer and next to that, field hockey. But where does ice hockey fit into the sports equation of the small nation of approximately 17 million inhabitants?
From Humble Beginnings
Actually some of ice hockey’s earliest beginnings occurred in the Netherlands. Dating back to the sixteenth century – after the Dutch had perfected the metal ice skate – an early version of a mixture of golf and hockey called kolven was played on frozen canals and ponds. The occurrence of such a game is documented in Pieter Brueghel’s The Hunters in the Snow painting found below.
Off in the distance to the right, you can see people playing a game with a stick on the frozen pond. As Europeans immigrated to North America, they brought with them their unique sports. A blend of these customs would come together and become the game of ice hockey that we know today.
Hockey Leagues in the Netherlands
Fast forwarding ahead several hundred years, lets look at the state of ice hockey in the Netherlands today. There’s actually no professional league in the Netherlands. Some players earn money, including import players, but they still have to support themselves through other work.
The top league in the Netherlands is the Jack’s Casino Eredivisie, but struggles to attract attention because of its disparity. The team from Tilburg is head and shoulders above the rest of the competition in the league, and therefore, makes it uninteresting. Currently, five teams are competing in the league, down from seven a year ago. Noticing a need for change, league restructuring is on its way.
“Tilburg and Heerenveen will join the Oberliga in Germany as already agreed on with the Deutsche Eishockey-Bund (DEB),”says Arnoud van Berkel, Executive Director, Ice Hockey Association of The Netherlands. “The remaining teams along with some teams from the Eerste Divisie (the league below the Eredivise) and some teams from Belgium will organize a new top league with a lower budget, a limited amount of import players, a Salary Cap and conditions on development, coach education, game officials, etc. We still have a lot to do on that.”
The Dutch Governing Body
The Ice Hockey Association of the Netherlands (Nederlandse Ijshockey Bond – NIJB) is governing all ice hockey initiatives within the country. The NIJB is responsible for development, education, the national team program, club support and partners with other national organizations ( the Dutch Olympic Committee, the government and the anti-doping program) and also partners with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).
“I’ve been the executive director for two years now. Before I was a referee, referee supervisor, referee-in-chief (and I still am) and board member. Next to that, I am an IIHF instructor and supervisor,” says van Berkel. “I am an employee of the federation for (officially) 1.5 days a week. The other days I am working for a high school as a teacher and administrator.”
The NIJB office is in Eindhoven where working is a full-time technical director (Theo van Gerwen), a full-time office manager (Wilma Olijhoek) and a full-time talent coach (Bo Subr), as well as the many volunteers who help out.
There, they’ve also started a national ice hockey academy (NIJA) where young talent from all over the country are practicing every day on and off the ice, while they live and go to school in Eindhoven. They play as part of a team that is playing in the Eerste Divisie. Unfortunately, the NIJA is not financially supported by the government, Dutch Olympic Committee, or sponsors. The NIJA is fully supported by the NIJB and by the participating players. Two years ago, the NIJA was supported by the municipality of Eindhoven, the Noord-Brabant province and the Dutch Olympic Committee. However, a change in policy dictates that only “medal sports” (sports being played at the top international level) are supported.
While Canada has grown as a country over the last century, so to has it evolved as a hockey nation. Hockey Canada is marking 100 years of overseeing the sport domestically and producing teams for the world stage.
Just a few weeks after Canada entered the First World War, a group of hockey executives met in Ottawa on Dec. 14, 1914, to establish the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association.
Hockey runs like a bright thread through Canada's timeline since then. The sport intertwines with pivotal events in the country's history.
Many a Canadian soldier left the ice for the battlefield in both the First and Second World Wars. Many of those who returned continued to play or took on leadership as coaches and administrators.
The same year Canada celebrated its centennial in 1967, the CAHA established its first national head office in Winnipeg.
A year later, the CAHA became Hockey Canada with the mandate to manage Canada's national hockey teams as well as develop the sport across the country.
Hockey Canada will release the book "It's Our Game" on Tuesday. The 399 pages of text and photos commemorate the last 100 years of the country's triumphs, failures and dramas in hockey.
"For me, the first 100 years, the legacy has to be our culture and how hockey has played a huge role in the fabric of our people, of our country, of our reputation world-wide," Tom Renney, Hockey Canada's president and CEO, said Monday. "I think we're deeply respected for our ability to play the game, to lead in terms of its development both domestically and abroad.
"Beyond that, I think Canadians as citizens are looked at globally as being very special people and I think hockey's had a lot to do with the development of those values."
As the birthplace of hockey, Canada took on the role of world leader in it. But it's been the response to crisis that's helped the country continue to claim ownership of it, Renney said.
Canada may have won the 1972 Summit Series, but adopting some of the off-ice training methods of the former Soviet Union was necessary lest Canadians fall behind. National hockey summits were held when it was felt the sport was sliding off the rails.
"I think Canada and its population are a humble people," Renney said. "I think hockey gives us an opportunity to sign our work if you will on the national and international stage as being very, very good at it.
"That being said, I think the times we have tripped up have been very good to us. Because of that humility, we've embraced failure quite honestly and made ourselves better."
"It's Our Game" (Viking, $39.95) is heavy on Canada's performances at world championships and Winter Olympics in the century's first half. It also incorporates the off-ice intrigue and skulduggery between countries during those early tournaments.
The book expands in scope in the second half of the century when women's hockey rose in profile and sledge hockey emerged alongside the Paralympic movement.
Hockey Canada's mission heading into the next century continues to be increasing participation in the game while also producing players for the sport's highest levels.
Hockey Canada, with its headquarters now in Calgary, has just over 640,000 registered players, almost 100,000 coaches and another 32,000 officials.
"What makes us special is we're able to connect the dots from discovering the game in the first place and having a great deal of fun playing it, but also making an opportunity for people to follow one of two streams," Renney said.
"Play the recreational game for a lifetime and have an awful lot of fun doing that and still be the doctor, the bus driver, the lawyer, the teacher, whatever the case may be, but great Canadians, or you can find a way to play professional hockey with all those same attributes but make a living playing the game. I think that's what really separates Canada apart from other countries."
The recent emphasis on player safety and concussions are the issues linking the end of Hockey Canada's first century with the start of the second. The advent of the hockey visor gets its own chapter in the book.
"The protection of the player through equipment has come a long, long way obviously," Renney said. "You can look at the photos of years gone by and just see how much protection they have now compared to back then.
"The rules of the game and how they're called are important, but of late especially, the attention to player safety is at the forefront from the little people in minor hockey all the way up to the National Hockey League. That's quite significant."
Renney was named head of Hockey Canada in June after 16 years with Bob Nicholson at the helm. But Renney was also involved in the organization as a coach, on and off, for the last 22 years while he also coached in the NHL.
He was head coach of the Canadian men when they operated as a full-time team back in the 1990s. Their shootout loss to Sweden in the gold-medal game at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, is one of the hockey heartbreaks chronicled in the book.
The '72 Summit Series, the 1987 Canada Cup, the Canadian junior team's runs of golds and the women's pitched battles with the U.S. are among the highlights.
"There are so many. The '72 Summit Series was a watershed moment for all of us," Renney said. "We all understand where we were and what we were doing at that time. The '87 Canada Cup was incredible with respect to the winning goal and how that whole series was played.
"There's been many, many more. One hundred years is an awful long time and for those of us who are kind of historians of the game as well and dig into the past so we can help identify with the future, it's awfully tough to come up with one or two."
Prof. Dr. Bulent Akay entered as the sole candidate to become the new president of the Turkish Ice Hockey Federation at the General Assembly in Kocaeli. The General Assembly voted for Akay who now is the New President and brings and end to a painful era in Turkish ice hockey.
The new board of directors headed by Bülent Akay are Fevzi Karabiyik, Emre Aydin, Ozer Bulent Aydoğdu, Mehmet Akif Cam, Semra Eser, Selami Kızılkaya, Serhan Kiraz, Murat Ocakçı, Murat Sen, Mehmet Mete Tatarogullari, Eyup Tavlasglu, Hüseyin Yavuz, Halit Albayrak, Nasuh Kirit and Fuat Yilmaz.
Bulent Akay's new task is to move ice hockey into a better place, many challenge are in front of them as they have to first clean up the mess left by the old regime.
One of first changes made was in youth hockey where my good friend Keith McAdams has become the the new head coach of the U18, U20 National Junior Teams and U16 development coach. Keith has worked with youth in Turkey for many years he has real passion for the game and the kids that he coaches.
The U18, 20 teams will be competing at the world championship in New Zealand in 2015. The U18s will compete in Division III in March and will faceoff against Hong Kong & New Zealand, While the U20s will compete in Division III in January and will take on Bulgaria, China, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa.
Deniz Ince will remain has head coach of the Turkish National Team and will be competing at the world championships Division III at home in Izmir In April 2015. The Turkish Team will be playing against Bosnia, Georgia, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, North Korea and United Arab Emirates.
We want to wish the Turkish Federation, Keith McAdams and Denis Ince the best of luck now and in the future has the try to move Ice hockey to greater heights in Turkey.
The Italian national team will eye for promotion to the top division with some celebrity in the coaching staff. Lou Vairo was named as new head coach for the upcoming tournament and technical coordinator of hockey at the Italian Ice Sports Federation and will be assisted by Ivano Zanatta, Stefan Mair and Roberto Scelfo.
The 69-year-old coach born in Brooklyn of Italian descent has a big international coaching resume. After starting coaching in the ‘70s he became the head coach of the U.S. national team in 1983 leading it to promotion at the 1983 IIHF World Championship B-Pool and to a seventh-place finish in the 1984 Olympic Winter Games. He was also involved in the 1980 Olympic Winter Games where he was scouting for the United States’ “Miracle on Ice” team and introduced European methods of coaching after studying with legendary Soviet coach Anatoli Tarasov in the ‘70s.
“I remember watching the Soviet team play in a World Championship and I was fascinated," he told hockeybarn.com in an interview back in 2009. "I remember writing a letter to the coach Anatoli Tarasov and I didn't have any address I just put Moscow, USSR and months, months later I got a response from him."
He was an assistant coach of the men’s national team at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, where the United States earned silver on home ice in Salt Lake City, was coaching the men’s national team at other four World Championships (2000-2003) and the U20 national team in five World Junior Championships (1979-1982, 2003).
Vairo was also an assistant coach of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils in the ‘80s before he came to Europe. In Italy he coached HC Fassa and Milano Saima, which he led to the Italian championship in 1991. In the same year he was an assistant coach of the Italian national team that won the World Championship B-Pool in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia. Vairo was also coaching the Netherlands in the 1987 IIHF World Championship B-Pool and Dutch club team Tilburg Trappers.
Off the ice he has been involved in several projects of USA Hockey, was instrumental in creating the current player development system in the Unites States and in establishing the IIHF Hockey Development Camp as a former member of the IIHF Coaching Committee. In 2010 the IIHF honoured him with the Paul Loicq Award for his contribution to international hockey.
Vairo replaces Tom Pokel, who was coaching the team in the last two years but wasn’t able to stop the “elevator mode”. Since 2008 Italy has been relegated from the top division each time it played there, and has been promoted back every odd year in Division I play.
One of Vairo’s goals is to develop Italian players, put faith in Italian-trained players and coaches, and have a national team “made in Italy”. This label hasn’t been the full truth for all players in the past since the national team usually included one or the other North American-born player of Italian heritage who was naturalized after playing some years in the Italian league. But it is true for Vairo’s first roster for the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge tournament in Budapest, 7-9 November, where the Squadra Azzurra will face host Hungary, Korea and Poland.
“I'm happy with the composition of all the technical staff who firmly believes in the growth of [Italian] hockey,” commented Tommaso Teofoli of the Italian Ice Sports Federation. “I consider this a clear choice to value the young Italian players. At the same time the results should be verified over a long period. The beginning will not be easy, but I am sure that this is the right way to go.”
While Vairo has been hired as technical coordinator of hockey, he’s assuming the role as national team head coach only in the next tournament in Budapest, at least for now. A head coach for the remainder of the season has not officially been announced yet.
In the next tournament Vairo can trust on a large coaching staff. Italian-Canadian Ivano Zanatta, one of the most famous coaches of Italian heritage in the recent years in Europe, will return to his native country after coaching 12 years in Switzerland (HC Lugano) and the KHL (SKA St. Petersburg, Lev Prague). Zanatta spent a big part of his playing career in Italy and also played for the national team between 1989 and 1993.
The coaching staff will also include two Italian-born coaches with Stefan Mair, who is the head coach of Schwenninger Wild Wings in Germany’s top league DEL, and Roberto Scelfo, who is an assistant coach with reigning Italian champion Ritten Sport.
The event in Budapest will be the first test prior to the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A in Krakow where Italy will play against Kazakhstan, Japan, Ukraine, Hungary and host Poland. The best two teams of the event will be promoted to the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.
Growing up in Canada I was a huge hockey fan, but it wasn't until the 1972 summit series and the 1976 Canada Cup that I became a big fan of international hockey. The best players in world all playing on a sheet of ice.
over the years Ice Hockey as grown and is still growing all over the world. On this website you find Video Hi-lites of International Games, Ice hockey News, National Team Records, All Time Results, Scores, Schedule to upcoming games and all International Tournaments from around the world.
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