Year: 2020 (page 1 of 6)

Q & A with Nadina Nichiu

Romania women’s team at Div III World Cup in Bulgaria

By Vitaly Nesterov – National Teams of Ice Hockey

One of the most talent woman ice hockey player and goalie of national team of Romania Nadina Niciu told us about herself,about playing on the senior team and about her transfer to Finland.

Tell us about yourself?

I was born in Târgu Mureș, Romania, on the 28th of January 1999 in a city where we don’t have an ice rink. We have an outdoor rink for 3 months of the year, but only for the public. I was raised by my grandparents and I remember my grandfather always taking me to the ice rink ever since I was really really young. Maybe about 4-5? He used to take me there everyday, sometimes even twice. I fell in love with skating and I loved hockey, I’ve seen it in movies, but I had never heard anything about it in real life. I was a speed skater for 10 years, and one winter when we got off ice, the hockey team was up after us, which I was surprised to see, so I stood and watched. After their practice one of the guys let me fool around with his stick, and the coach spotted me and asked if I wanted to try it out. So I did. I was a player for 1 year. I never really had any specific goals, I played whatever I was needed. I enjoyed more to play defense cause I was a really good skater, but didn’t have any stick skills. I always wanted to play goalie, but there was no equipment in my home town. So after a year, I went and bought my own. I was almost 17 at the time, and everybody said it’s too late. So I wanted to show them how wrong they were. I was lucky to have awesome, dedicated coaches that helped me all the way through and awesome teammates that supported me. I slowly made it hard for any player to score on me, and once I got in the boys team I realized I can do even better. So I moved there with them where we had an ice rink and all the facilities, and I practiced every day for a whole season, with 4 teams in total. There were days where I would be on ice for 6-7 hours. But I loved every minute of it, those are the things that got me here. As for the women championship, my first team was «Triumf Bucharest», but they would hardly accept me as a goalie cause they needed players. So one year there was a new women team forming, «Fox Hockey» Gheorgheni, and I went to play for them, and they became my second family. I can’t thank them enough for everything. I also played for the national team. Two years in the u18 as a player, and 2 years on the seniors team as a goalie.

Nadina (right) with teammates

Where do you work?

I am a postwoman, but I want to study goalie coaching as soon as possible.

 Is it true that you played in the championship of Romania for the men’s team?

I played in the men’s team until the age of 20 and then only trained. I – was the only girl in the championship of Romania. I was in the application “Sapientia U23” in the season 18 \ 19.

Did you play for Sapientia that season when Sportul beat your team twice?

Yes, but I didn’t play any of these games. I am not so bad to got scored by «Sportul» players (laughing). I was supposed to play against Sportul but it was before world championships and the federation didn’t let me, so I wouldn’t get injured. They won only cause we didn’t take it seriously and after the game we were so mad. But the next day we won 17-2. Then they beat us one more time in the end of march. (9th of march 2019 romanian team «Sportul» won his first game since 2013. The lose more than two hundred games and 2233 days without win)

Training with Sapientia U23 ice hockey club

Most recently, you signed a contract with the Finnish club Koovee. How did this happen?

Two weeks ago someone said they were interested in me, so they got in touch. I automatically got excited and found out more about the club. Only heard good things about them, so I said yes! I’m really excited to get there and meet the team and play. I’m the type of goalie that gives 200% for her team so I like to believe I won’t let them down.

Tell me about your hockey career over the years? There is absolutely no information on the internet.

From 2015-2018 I played for Triumf Bucharest. This was a women’s team I spent the 2018/19 season Sapientia u23 and Fox Hockey from Gheorgheni.

Nadina’s debut match for Fox Hockey

What is the situation with women’s Romanian hockey?

The Federation does not help women’s hockey. Men’s hockey is far ahead, all the money goes there, hence the result – going to Div IA. They consider us a non-competitive team, although without finances we cannot be better. At least let them give us the opportunity to train with the men’s team so that we gain experience, but this is not there idea for us.

Do any of the Romanian hockey players play abroad?

Ana Voicu plays in Canada. She is 21 years old. I know Adela Sarbu she plays there too, but she is just 16 years old. We have more players I think that have opportunities now but I wouldn’t name them before it’s a sure thing.

How did Romania celebrated promotion to Division IA?

We were all thrilled! Something like this hasn’t happened in decades. It was a huge step forward for the Romanian hockey, and I’m sure these boys will be in hockey history books

Thanks to Ukrainian born players?

They consider themselves Romanians (laughing)

What is your best game?

“I can’t choose one.” I had an amazing season, so there are many games that I consider to be the best. With the exception of the World Championships, where I was injured, I went with a shootout streak up until the end of February. I got scored on only in the last 2 games, which is a thing I’m really proud of. That still didn’t affect the team considering we finished first in the championship (but there was no awards due to the coronavirus). If I were to choose a few games, I’d probably say the Sekler Cup (women’s local friendship tournament) final against Csikszereda where we won 3-0, and the game against Belgium. I only played the last 30 minutes, But I loved the way me and the team played.

Targu-Mures has an Arena Marosvásárhelyi Műjégpálya, when will it be finnished?

No, in 2008 they began to build an arena in Tirgu Mures. A lot of money was spent, but it was not enough. 12 years have passed, and the arena has not yet been completed. Although now in Tirgu Mures a skating rink with an inflatable dome has been made.

Marosvásárhelyi Műjégpálya Arena

The sport of Ice Hockey lacks a sports facility for more popularity”

The association was founded in 1998 in Schellenberg

Source: Liechtensteiner Vaterland

The sport of ice hockey receives little attention in Liechtenstein but has great interest in the small municipality of Schellenberg of all places. The EHC Vaduz-Schellenberg ice hockey team now wants to make ice hockey more popular across the country.

It is considered the fastest team sport in the world: ice hockey. While football dominates here, ice hockey is popular in the Nordic countries. In Canada, ice hockey is even considered a national sport. In Germany, Austria or Switzerland, the game on ice is still in second place. However, this does not apply to Liechtenstein.

Twelve students found the HC Schellenberg

Although the beginning of ice hockey in Liechtenstein is not in Schellenberg, ice hockey would not be what it is today without Schellenberg. The EHC Vaduz was founded in 1996 and took part in the championship for the first time the following year. In 1998, 12 young students from Schellenberg decided to also practice this sport. At that time I was a teacher in Schellenberg and played some ice hockey. A group of boys asked me if we could make an ice hockey team, ”says Christian Fuchs, President of the EHC Vaduz-Schellenberg, who was immediately enthusiastic about the idea of ​​his students. Shortly afterwards they founded HC Schellenberg in 1998. “We then practiced for a year and then formed a training community with Vaduz. In the winter you played on the ice and in summer inline hockey was on the training schedule. Three years later, they teamed up with the EHC and founded the hockey association. Since only the ice hockey department merged with Vaduz, HC Schellenberg remained the place for popular inline hockey.

We lack a sports facility for the game to gain popularity

The EHC Vaduz-Schellenberg currently has around 30 Players. For a comparison: there are around 1,700 active footballers in Liechtenstein. But why is there so little interest in ice hockey? “There is certainly interest in our country,” says Fuchs. “the Sport is popular here too and is followed. Ice hockey is very important to us in the region. Especially in Graubünden In eastern Switzerland and Feldkirch in Austria, but in the Sarganserland in Switzerland  and Rhine Valley, ice hockey is not unknown. Nevertheless, there are only a few Liechtensteiners who actively play ice hockey. For Christian Fuchs it is clear why this is so. «We lack a sports facility in the country where our sport could be practiced. In addition, the financial means are also limited.  Since there is no ice rink in Liechtenstein, the EHC moves abroad.

Despite these limited resources, the EHC Vaduz-Schellenberg is successful. In the last three years we won the championship title twice in the Vorarlberg Ice Hockey League 2. Two years ago it was “only” enough for the vice championship. Nevertheless, we are not superior or even want to play in a higher league. Our sporting goals are modest. It would not make much sense to play in a league higher as it is financially impossible and we can paly well and succeed  in this league. The successes of the past few years have also been somewhat happy for us, says Fuchs.

The connection to Schellenberg is currently somewhat lacking

What does the EHC Vaduz-Schellenberg have to do with the municipality of Schellenberg? The name is still there and will definitely be retained. Even if the connection to the community is somewhat lacking, we can always count on their support, says Fuchs. You still have an active player and about four playing out side of the country who come from Schellenberg. “But who knows, maybe one day there will be an ice rink in Schellenberg, where the EHC Vaduz-Schellenberg will play their home games.” 

Egypt in the IIHF? It’s time for a pyramid scheme

By Hussein Kamel – The Hockey News

Sameh Ramadan is a busy man. By day he lives in New Jersey, where he works in sales and marketing. By night the American-born Egyptian dual citizen is a senior advisor for Egypt’s club team and the point person in the country’s quest to join the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Ramadan, who joined Egypt Ice Hockey in 2016, is working tirelessly to establish a winter sports federation in Egypt in hopes of one day having the nation participate in international competitions. Ever the salesman, Ramadan has put his marketing chops to good use, rebranding Egypt Ice Hockey by revamping the team logo with a previously designed pharaoh wearing a goalie mask in the style of Jason Voorhees from Friday The 13th.

Ramadan – along with fellow committee members Yasser Ahmed, Ayman Abdallah, Ahmed Ramadan and Mahmoud Ghonaim – is also working to stage a game in front of the Pyramids of Giza to raise awareness about hockey in Egypt.

“Just imagine that vision in front of the pyramids, how crazy would that be?” he said. “If we are able to pull off a game at the pyramids, it would be an iconic scene – ice hockey in the desert in front of one of the ancient wonders of the world.”

The idea isn’t as pie in the sky as you might think. The plateau in front of the pyramids, which is used for concerts, graduations and other affairs, has hosted sporting events in the past, including the annual Egyptian Squash Open. Ramadan is working with charitable organizations Hockey4All and The Hockey Foundation on the logistics of staging the event. The hope is to build a real ice rink (rather than a synthetic one) in front of the pyramids and host a sports festival.

Egyptian Squash Open

As head of Egypt Ice Hockey, as well as a left winger for the country’s team, Ramadan is always on the lookout for new talent across the globe. Whenever he crosses paths with anyone in the hockey community, he always makes a point of asking, “Do you know any good hockey players with Egyptian citizenship?”

And he’s not just looking for men. As a father of three young girls, all of whom play hockey in New Jersey, he’s hoping to establish a women’s team in Egypt as well. To that end, he’s identified eight to 10 dual-citizen girls under the age of 12 who are playing at the highest level of hockey in their respective countries.

In February, Egypt competed at the six-team Arab Professional Club Championship, with Lebanon, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and host Kuwait. (Tunisia and Algeria were also invited, but neither could make it.) The tournament, which was the second edition, marked the opening of a new ice rink in Kuwait.

The club has come a long way since Ramadan’s first competition, the 2016 Africa Ice Hockey Clubs Cup in Morocco. Egypt showed up with nine players, two of whom were under 14, and only one goalie. The outcome was as expected, as the club team finished plum last.

“We now have a list of players,” Ramadan said. “We are rejecting a ton of people and asking for videos.”

Sameh Ramadan

The players come primarily from New Jersey, Montreal and Cairo, and all of them pay their own way. To recruit new players, Egypt Ice Hockey relies heavily on word of mouth and social media. Members of the team play a pivotal role in the recruiting process by reaching out to clubs and coaches and asking whether any of their players are dual citizens. According to Ramadan, since the team began participating in tournaments, and especially after their overhauled logo went viral on Reddit, they’ve been getting more emails from players and coaches who are interested in joining the club.

At the Arab Clubs Tournament in 2018 in the UAE, Egypt managed to come away with its first competition win, beating Algeria’s club team 8-7 to finish fourth out of five teams. This February in Kuwait, Egypt will again participate as a club team, not a national team. Since the IIHF doesn’t sanction club competitions, the teams are allowed to bring non-nationals. Yet Egypt Ice Hockey has decided to limit the number of foreign players regardless, in order to give more chances to players with Egyptian nationalities. “We’re not so much bothered about our record as much as the year-to-year improvement and our growth,” Ramadan said.

Egyptian team at the 2018 Arab Clubs Tournament

If Egypt’s program continues to grow, the hope is the country will eventually join the ranks of the IIHF. If so, Egypt would become only the fourth African nation to do so, joining Algeria, Morocco and South Africa. Last year, the IIHF welcomed Algeria, Colombia, Iran, Lebanon and Uzbekistan.
For most upstart non-hockey nations, the biggest hurdle is a lack of equipment. But thanks to donations from The Hockey Foundation and Hockey4All, Ramadan has all the equipment he needs.

To move forward, Egypt Ice Hockey is simply seeking a piece of paper from either the Egyptian Sports Minister or the Egyptian Olympic Committee.

“All I need is a letter, which is free,” Ramadan said. “The letter would say that Egypt Ice Hockey can continue to get an ice hockey education and bring that knowledge to Egypt – basically that the club can develop the hockey interest in Egypt. And with that we can apply to be an affiliate member to the IIHF.”

If Ramadan gets his wish, a new hockey nation will officially be born.

Hall of Fame waits for Lowe, Wilson come to an end

By Sean Leahy – NBC Sports

The waits for were long for both Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson. But after receiving Wednesday phone calls from Lanny MacDonald, the two longtime NHL defensemen are Hall of Famers.

Lowe, eligible since 2001, and Wilson, eligible since 1996, were announced as part of the 2020 class along with Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, Kim St. Pierre, and Ken Holland.

“It’s not only that you have to get 14 of 18 votes, but it’s also sometimes who you may be up against when you’re up that year,” said MacDonald, the Hall’s Chairman. “Sometimes, it’s timing. Regardless of if they go in like Marian and Jarome, it’s richly deserved.”

When Lowe saw MacDonald was calling, he figured it wasn’t say he didn’t get in.

“It’s all surreal for me,” he said.

Lowe is the seventh player from those great 1980s Oilers teams to make it to the Hall of Fame. After watching Wayne Gretzky, Grant Fuhr, Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Mark Messier, and Paul Coffey get inducted, he never thought he would join that group.

“I’ve never seen myself as a Hall of Famer,” Lowe said. “For me, the Hall of Fame was Bobby Orr, Jean Beliveau, Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier. Although I know there are players of my ilk in the Hall of Fame and it’s a place for everyone, I don’t want to say I was disappointed in the years I didn’t get selected, but I certainly understood you have to put up more points, win awards.

“My dream was always to win Stanley Cups and the Hall of Fame was something I never dreamed about.”

Lowe finished his NHL career with six Stanley Cup rings between the Oilers and Rangers. In 1,254 games he scored 84 times and recorded 431 points. Internationally, he represented Canada at the 1982 World Championship and the 1984 Canada Cup.

Wilson had the longer wait and since retiring has made an impact as Sharks general manager for nearly two decades. He’s going into the Hall of Fame in the player category, a day he didn’t think was coming.

“It was an unexpected call,” he said. 

Wilson played 16 NHL seasons, finishing with 237 goals and 827 points. He’s the Blackhawks all-time leader in goals and points by a defenseman and led the their blue liners in scoring for 10 seasons. His 0.81 points-per-game average is ninth all-time among defenseman who played at least 650 games.

Individually, Wilson was voted a 1981-82 First Team All-Star and won the Norris Trophy in 1982. He was also a finalist for the award four other times. Like Lowe, he was on Canada’s blue line for the 1984 Canada Cup.

“This game has been so good to me, and all the things I’ve been fortunate to do and the journey I’ve been on, it was very unexpected,” he said.

“It’s worth the wait. That’s an understatement.”

The 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony is tentatively set to take place Monday, Nov. 16 in Toronto.

Long-time Calgary Flames captain named to the Hockey Hall of Fame

By  CTV News Calgary

Calgary Flames icon Jarome Iginla is the team’s latest player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The prestigious honour was announced Wednesday afternoon.

Iginla, who is widely regarded to be the greatest player to wear a Flames jersey, captained the team for nine of the 16 seasons he played in Calgary. He was honoured by the Flames last year when his number 12 was retired and raised to the rafters.

Iginla has been the recipient of many prominent NHL awards, including the Art Ross Trophy (most points), the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Award (most goals) and the Lester B. Pearson Award (most outstanding player).

He has also received multiple humanitarian awards for his leadership. In the 2000 season, he announced he would be donating $1,000 to KidSport for each goal scored, which he upped to $2,000 in 2005. Those donations resulted in more than $700,000 being given to the charity.

He also established Calgary’s Jarome Iginla Hockey School in 2002, which donated proceeds to the Diabetes Research Association. He is also a member of the NHL Diversity program, which helps disadvantaged youth play hockey.

Iginla is also a legend of the international game. He won gold for Canada on the world stage many times, most memorably assisting Sidney Crosby’s ‘Golden Goal’ in overtime against the United States in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Other gold medals include the 1996 World Juniors, the 1997 World Championship, the 2004 World Cup as well as another Olympic gold medal from the 2002 Olympics.

Iginla was drafted 11th overall by the Dallas Stars in the 1995 draft, but was immediately traded to the Flames. Iginla’s NHL debut came in the 1996 playoffs with the Flames where he recorded his first NHL point, assisting a goal from Theoren Fleury and scored his first goal in the following game. His career spanned over three decades, playing 1,554 games and racking up 1,300 points. He currently holds the record for most games played, goals scored and points as a Calgary Flame.

Iginla was traded to Pittsburgh in 2013 at the trade deadline for a first round pick and two prospects. He spent the next few seasons with Boston, Colorado and Los Angeles before announcing his retirement in 2018.

This is the first year that Alberta-born Iginla was eligible for the induction into the HHOF.

Blackhawks’ Marian Hossa elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Marian Hossa during the 2011 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship on home ice in Slovakia

Marian Hossa is heading to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In his first year of eligibility, Hossa was announced on Wednesday as one of six members from the Class of 2020, along with Jarome Iginla, Kevin Lowe, Kim St-Pierre, Doug Wilson and Ken Holland (builder). He needed more than 75 percent of the votes — at least 14 from the 18-member selection committee — to be elected.

“This is an amazing day for me and my family,” Hossa said in a conference call. “I would like to congratulate all the six people with me. It’s an amazing day for everybody. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to start playing in the 1997-98 National Hockey League and I never thought I would have an amazing career.

“My dream came true when I won the first Stanley Cup. This is definitely something special to be in the top, top players and the people in [the] National Hockey League. This means so much to me. I’m humbled and really grateful.”

Drafted No. 12 overall by the Ottawa Senators in 1997, Hossa registered 1,134 points in 1,309 games across 19 seasons with five different teams and won three Stanley Cups as a member of the Blackhawks. He ranks 35th all-time in goals (525), 30th in postseason points (149) and was the 80th player in NHL history to hit the 1,000-point mark.

Despite his career being cut prematurely because of a progressive skin disorder, Hossa finished as an eight-time 30-goal scorer and three-time 40-goal scorer and was widely regarded as one of the best two-way forwards in hockey. Chicago was fortunate to witness it first-hand for eight years.

“One of those players that really set the table of playing the right way,” Joel Quenneville told NBC Sports Chicago in January. “And as a coach, you couldn’t ask for a guy that demonstrates exactly what your message is on how we want to play structurally, in all zones, all situations. Protects the puck, keeps the puck, tough to take it away from him. It was like, ‘OK, this is the perfect player.'”

Hossa’s international numbers also puts him in the conversation as one of the greatest Slovakian players ever. He racked up 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 12 games at the IIHF World Junior Championship, 41 points (16 goals, 25 assists) in 52 games at the IIHF World Championship and 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 19 games at the Winter Olympics.

Not only is he a Hall of Fame player on the ice, but off the ice as well. Hossa is as universally respected within the hockey community as anyone, and the epitome of what it means to be a professional.

“You can’t replace Marian Hossa,” GM Stan Bowman said in October. “He was such an important part of our team. We never would’ve won any of our Stanley Cups without Marian’s contributions. He did all the things that you need a player to do to win. I’m not sure there was ever the full appreciation of what he did on a nightly basis to help our team win.”

There is now. Hossa is in the Hall and he couldn’t be more deserving of the honor.

Kim St-Pierre breaks ground for female goalies in Hockey Hall of Fame

Kim St-Pierre celebrates after winning gold at the 2006 Olympics

By Donna Spencer · The Canadian Press

Netminder posted a 1.17 goals-against average and save percentage of .939 over her 13-year career.

A young Kim St-Pierre saw magic in that plain, brown goaltending equipment.

But she lost the first game she put it on.

Parents Louise and Andre encouraged her to continue, even though there were no girls’ teams in Chateauguay, Que., in the 1980s.

The first female goaltender — and eighth woman — to earn induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame played with and against boys her first decade in the sport.

“Being the only girl, it was never easy,” St-Pierre said. “I had to really fight every day not to become the best, but to play amongst all the boys.

“It made me the person I am today, to never give up and always be ready every time I had a chance to step on the ice.”

Her first foray into women’s hockey with the McGill University Martlets coincided with the debut of women’s hockey at the 1998 Winter Olympics.

“My transition to the women’s game, I was about to quit hockey, but thank god for McGill University giving me a chance to play for another five years and transition to the women’s game,” St-Pierre said. “It made me have a chance to be a part of Team Canada down the road.

“It was a dream for me to be on the that team one day.”

St-Pierre earned three Olympic gold medals and five world championships with the Canadian women’s hockey team.

The 41-year-old is Canada’s all-time leader in games (83), wins (64) and shutouts (29).

St-Pierre posted a career 1.17 goals-against average and save percentage of .939 over her 13-year career with the national team.

She enters the Hall alongside NHL players Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson and builder Ken Holland in the class of 2020 announced Wednesday.

“Hopefully this will let people know about the accolades Kim has,” Canadian teammate and goaltender Sami Jo Small said.

“She’s often overlooked because she’s quiet, because she’s not really in the public eye. She just had this quiet resolve to her.

“She just went out her business winning lots of games and playing for Team Canada for a long time, which as a goaltender is not an easy feat.”

St-Pierre was Canada’s starter in world championship finals from 2001 to 2008. She was named the tournament’s top goalie in both 2001 and 2004.

Her 25-save performance in the 2002 Olympic women’s hockey final was electric.

Canada claimed gold in an emotional 3-2 win over the United States in Salt Lake City, after losing the final to the Americans in 1998.

St-Pierre was named the Canadian Women’s Hockey League top goaltender three times in her career. She twice hoisted the Clarkson Cup championship trophy with the Montreal Stars.

She grew up idolizing Montreal Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy, as well as Manon Rheaume who appeared in a pair of NHL pre-season games with the Tampa Bay Lightning when St-Pierre was a teenager.

Angela James and Cammi Granato were the first women the Hall inducted in 2010, followed by Geraldine Heaney (2013), Angela Ruggiero (2015), Danielle Goyette (2017), Jayna Hefford (2018), Hayley Wickenheiser (2019) and now St-Pierre.

“When I first found out women would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame with Cammi Granato and Angela James, it made it so special for me to be a women’s hockey player and now to join and be the eighth women in the Hockey Hall of Fame makes it very, very special,” St-Pierre said.

“My message for all the young goalies is to never give up and to always keep it fun.”

IIHF Tournaments for 2021 assigned

By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

The 2020 IIHF Extra-Ordinary Congress has assigned the tournaments of the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program and the qualification for the 2020 Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament.

The delegates also confirmed the dates of the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk and Riga to 21 May to 6 June 2021. Find out more on the new website 2021.iihfworlds.com,

The 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship will take place in Halifax and Truro in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia where it was planned last spring before the cancellation. The proposed dates are 7-17 April 2021.

Similarly, the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship will take place in Plymouth and Ann Arbor in Michigan, United States, at the same venues that were scheduled for this year before the cancellation due to the pandemic. The proposed dates are 15-25 April 2021.

The 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship will be hosted by Sweden in the cities of Linkoping and Mjolby from 5 to 12 January 2021.

In the lower divisions most of the men’s, women’s and under-18 tournaments scheduled in the spring of 2020 will have the same hosts in 2021 including the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B in Katowice, Poland.

One exception to this are the two tournaments that will be used as Olympic test event. The Division II Group A in the men’s category and the Division I Group B in the women’s category will be held at the two Olympic arenas for Beijing 2022 in the upcoming spring.

Next season will also see Singapore joining the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program in the men’s senior category, Estonia will return to and Bosnia & Herzegovina join the women’s senior category and Latvia the women’s under-18 category.

Congress also approved the qualification for Beijing 2022. The Men’s Olympic Qualification has already started and the Final Olympic Qualification in Latvia, Norway and Slovakia was moved to 26-29 August 2021.

The Women’s Olympic Qualification will start in the upcoming season. A record number of 31 countries entered a team to Olympic Winter Games and Qualification. The top-6 teams of the 2020 IIHF Women’s World Ranking – USA, Canada, Finland, Russia, Switzerland and Japan – as well as host China are automatically qualified for the 10-team event. The remaining three teams will be determined in the Olympic Qualification in three stages starting in December.

The hosts were determined according to the principle of the right of first refusal with the top-seeded teams getting the rights to host. The Final Olympic Qualification will be held same as the men’s tournaments from 26 to 29 August 2021 and the top-ranked non-qualified teams made use of their right to host. The Czech Republic will hold their tournament in Pribram, Germany will host in Fussen and Sweden will host its group in a city to be determined.

The Congress also approved the new format of the IIHF Continental Cup. Click here to find the clubs, groups and dates.

Find below all tournaments, teams and venues. The proposed dates are being discussed with the teams and will be published during the upcoming days under Tournament List on IIHF.com. The schedules and tournament pages will be published during autumn.

Men’s Senior Category

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk, Belarus & Riga, Latvia
Group A in Minsk: Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Slovakia, Denmark, Belarus, Great Britain.
Group B in Riga: Canada, Finland, USA, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Italy, Kazakhstan.

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Participants: France, Austria, Korea, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B in Katowice, Poland
Participants: Lithuania, Poland, Japan, Estonia, Ukraine, Serbia

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group A in Beijing, China
Participants: Netherlands, Croatia, Australia, Spain, China, Israel

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group B in Reykjavik, Iceland
Participants: Belgium, Iceland, New Zealand, Georgia, Mexico, Bulgaria

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division III Group A in Kockelscheuer, Luxembourg
Participants: DPR Korea, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Luxembourg, Chinese Taipei, United Arab Emirates

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division III Group B in Cape Town, South Africa
Participants: South Africa, Hong Kong (China), Thailand, Bosnia & Herzegovina

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division IV in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Participants: Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore

Men’s U20 Category

2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton & Red Deer, Canada
Group A in Edmonton: Canada, Finland, Switzerland, Slovakia, Germany
Group B in Red Deer: Russia, Sweden, USA, Czech Republic, Austria

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group A in Horsholm, Denmark
Participants: Kazakhstan, Latvia, Belarus, Norway, Denmark, Hungary

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group B in Tallinn, Estonia
Participants: Slovenia, France, Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Japan

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division II Group A in Brasov, Romania
Participants: Italy, Great Britain, Lithuania, Romania, Spain, Korea

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division II Group B in Belgrade, Serbia
Participants: Serbia, Netherlands, China, Croatia, Belgium, Iceland

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division III in Mexico City, Mexico
Group A: Israel, Australia, Turkey, Mexico
Group B: Bulgaria, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, South Africa

Men’s U18 Category

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Plymouth & Ann Arbor, USA
Group A in Ann Arbor: Sweden, Canada, Belarus, Latvia, Switzerland
Group B in Plymouth: Russia, USA, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division I Group A in Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia
Participants: Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Denmark, Norway, France, Japan

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division I Group B in Asiago, Italy
Participants: Ukraine, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Poland

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division II Group A in Tallinn, Estonia
Participants: Great Britain, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, Korea, Serbia

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division II Group B in Sofia, Bulgaria
Participants: Spain, China, Netherlands, Croatia, Australia, Bulgaria

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division III Group A in Istanbul, Turkey
Participants: Belgium, Israel, Iceland, Turkey, Mexico, Chinese Taipei

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division III Group B in Kockelscheuer, Luxembourg
Participants: New Zealand, Hong Kong (China), South Africa, Luxembourg, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan

Women’s Senior Category

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Halifax & Truro, Canada
Group A in Halifax: USA, Canada, Finland, Russia, Switzerland
Group B in Truro: Japan, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Hungary

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Division I Group A in Angers, France
Participants: Sweden, France, Norway, Austria, Slovakia, Netherlands

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Division I Group B in Beijing, China
Participants: Italy, Korea, Poland, China, Kazakhstan, Slovenia

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Division II Group A in Jaca, Spain
Participants: Latvia, Great Britain, Spain, Mexico, DPR Korea, Chinese Taipei

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Division II Group B in Zagreb, Croatia
Participants: Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Turkey, Croatia, South Africa

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Division III in Kaunas, Lithuania
Participants: Ukraine, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Hong Kong (China), Estonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Women’s U18 Category

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship in Linkoping & Mjolby, Sweden
Group A in Mjolby: USA, Canada, Russia, Finland
Group B in Linkoping: Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship Division I Group A in Gyor, Hungary
Participants: Slovakia, Japan, Hungary, France, Italy, Norway

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship Division I Group B in Radenthein, Austria
Participants: Denmark, Austria, China, Korea, Poland, Chinese Taipei

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship Division II Group A in Dumfries, Great Britain
Participants: Great Britain, Netherlands, Australia, Spain

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship Division II Group B in Kocaeli, Turkey
Participants: Kazakhstan, Turkey, Mexico, New Zealand, Latvia

Men’s Olympic Qualification

Final Olympic Qualification (26-29 August 2021)
Group D: Slovakia, Belarus, Austria, Poland. In Bratislava, Slovakia.
Group E: Latvia, France, Italy, Hungary. In Riga, Latvia.
Group F: Norway, Denmark, Korea, Slovenia. In Norway (city TBA).

Women’s Olympic Qualification

Final Olympic Qualification (26-29 August 2021)
Group C: Czech Republic, Hungary, Norway, Qualifier 6. In Pribram, Czech Republic.
Group D: Germany, Denmark, Austria, Qualifier 5. In Fussen, Germany.
Group E: Sweden, France, Slovakia, Qualifier 4. In Sweden (city TBA).

Olympic Qualification Round 2 (11-14 February 2021)
Group F: Korea, Great Britain, Slovenia, Qualifier 8. In Gangneung, Korea.
Group G: Italy, Kazakhstan, Spain, Chinese Taipei. In Cortina, Italy.
Group H: Netherlands, Poland, Mexico, Turkey. In Gdansk, Poland.

Olympic Qualification Round 1 (17-19 December 2020)
Group J: Iceland, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Lithuania. In Reykjavik, Iceland.

Q & A with Pedro Tonietto

By Vitaly Nesterov  Nationalteamsoficehockey.com

Brazil goalkeeper Pedro Tonietto kindly chatted with us and told us a lot of interesting things about local hockey in Brazil.

First, tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in a small town in the south of Brazil, where they do not know about hockey at all. I am 27 years old and 8 years ago I moved to the USA from Brazil. Now I live in Tampa Bay.

Why did you choose ice hockey?

In fact, a lot of people fell in love with this game after watching the movie “Mighty Ducks”. I was one of them. As a child, I played roller hockey, but I always thought ice hockey was cooler. When I moved to Florida at age 19, I was still learning how skate and my passion turned into an obsession.

Where do you work?

I’m currently a Financial Analyst at a private wealth advisory firm. That has nothing to do with ice hockey, which at times turns out to be really challenging to do both at the same time. Fortunately I have a passion for finance as well as hockey, so I make it work.

Do you play for any club or only in the national team?

I have been playing for the national team since 2015, we played in the first in Pan American tournament, then it was abolished a new one tournament emerge  the Latam Cup. Until last year, I played for the University of Tampa. I also participate in training camps. Thanks to these camps, I have the opportunity to train with hockey players from the NHL, KHL and many other European leagues. In 2018, I trained with Shane Prince from Dynamo Minsk and then worked together with Kucherov. This camp was held in Clearwater, Florida. The camp was organized by a Swiss coach and there were many hockey players from all over the world, as well as from the USA and Canada. I always try to play for other teams when the Brazilian national team is not playing. For example, in Florida, a summer league was created, where several players from Brazil joined the teams all summer. I have a trainer and I work with them at least twice a week, sometimes even six times a week. The coach helped me a lot in ensuring that I played successfully for the national team.

There is also the Sun Coast Hockey League, which has just begun in Tampa. This is a four-team summer league, and most players are either drafted NHL players or NCAA players. I participated in three games, but I have a lot of work, so it’s not always possible to play.

What can you say about hockey in Brazil?

When you live in a country where hockey is practically absent, you will have to travel outside the country to become the best hockey player. Unfortunately, many hockey players leave Brazil to play in other countries. Hockey has been developing recently in our country, but it is not so popular so far. NHL matches are shown on Brazilian TV, this is a strong argument in favor of popularizing ice hockey in the country. In Sao Paulo recently opened an ice rink “Ice Brazil” We have great potential, We are growing the sport little by little.

January 25, 2020 in Sao Paulo opened the ice rink “Ice Brazil”

Inside the the ice rink

 Football matches between Brazil and Argentina are great and have amazing atmosphere. Is it the same in hockey?

The rivalry between Brazil and Argentina is a great confrontation in all sports, including ice hockey. Despite the fact that hockey in these countries is a relatively a new sport, it is always interesting to watch teams that develop and compete year after year in order to understand which of them is the best. Even our second teams playing against each other are very competitive. But the coolest thing is that both teams have the same goal – to develop ice hockey in South America. Athletes from both countries get along and help each other. Even our captain lives in Argentina and plays hockey there.

Match between Argentina & Brazil

You have a joint photo with Nikita Kucherov and Artemi Panarin. Is this during that same camp?

That was in 2018, about a week after that Swiss camp was over. When Kucherov and Panarin were skating here in Florida, their coach was a good friend of mine that I used to skate with on a regular basis. Andrei Vasilevskiy was supposed to be their goalie, but he decided to skate with the prospects instead. I got a call on Sunday night asking if I would be available to skate with them, and I didn’t think twice. It was an interesting skate, Kucherov is really quiet but still a hard worker. Panarin is definitely fun to talk to. Fun fact, Kucherov split the puck in half on a wrist shot that beat me but hit the post.

Do you know Marcus Kallionkieli?” This is a Finnish Brazilian drafted by Vegas at the last NHL draft.

Yes of course! A great hockey player, I heard about him when he started playing for Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL. As far as I know, he wanted to play for the national team, but it did not work out, because our tournaments are usually held during the season of play for his team. He would be a great addition to the national team. It’s great to see a Brazilian hockey player who is drafted in the NHL.

Marcus Kallionkieli was selected by Vegas in the 5th round under 139th number

When will we see the Brazil national team at the IIHF World Hockey Championships?

It is definitely a dream for us to come true, and I believe Brazil could be part of it if ice hockey keeps growing in the country. One of the rules for a nation to compete at the IiHF World Championship is for that country to have an official ice rink  which disqualifies Brazil unfortunately. Recently, though, an ice rink with hockey capabilities was just inaugurated a few months ago in Sao Paulo, but I don’t know if that rink would qualify us. We have played against Mexico, that played Div II IIHF tournaments. Hopefully we will play it at some point.

Team photo of Brazil National Team

Matt Dalton: “Naturalization is good, but it needs to be controlled”

Matt Dalton at Anyang Hall

By Maxim GarashchukNational Teams of Ice Hockey

The best goalkeeper of the Division IA World Championships in Kazakhstan in 2019, the Korean hockey player who plays for Anyang Hall and the South Korean national team Matt Dalton gave an interview to NToIH and talked about himself and whether foreign hockey players should be invited to the national teams.

Why did you choose the position of goaltender?

I choose the position because when I was younger our goalie on our team got injured and he could not play anymore. So our team rotated goalies each game. When I got to play I actually did really well, and I really enjoyed it. So the next season I decided to switch full time. I also always loved the goaltender equipment.

What would you be if you hadn’t become a hockey player?

This is a very good question that I cannot answer immediately. When I was a child, I dreamed of becoming a hockey player. I thought it was possible and therefore did not even think about other options. I grew up in a farming family and, probably, if my hockey career had not worked out, I would now be working in a something related to farming.

 Did you have the opportunity to stay in the USA and try to break into the NHL after the 2010/11 season? Why did you decide to leave for Europe?

Yes, at the end of the season I could have stay in America, but I received an offer to play in the KHL. I spoke with some players who already had experience this league and they told me that this is a good opportunity to play at a high level of hockey.

How were you invited to play in the KHL?

We had a skills coach in Providence that was from Russia when I was playing there. I got to be friends with him and we were always working after practice. I asked him one day if there was a chance I could go to Russia and play. He helped me and got me a chance to go and play there.

Matt Dalton played for Neftekhimik 2012/13 season

Which Russian cities do you remember most?

I would have to say the cities where I played – Nizhnekamsk and Podolsk. Among others I will single out Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Novosibirsk and Kazan.

The most difficult opponent to play against in the KHL?

Perhaps this is SKA.

Tell me about the offer to play for Korea?

“I meet a Korean in London, Ontario.” His name is Steve Beak, he runs a skills hockey program called BK Hockey. In the off season, he and I skated together. Once Steve told me about the opportunity to play in South Korea, and the to get a Korean passport and play for the national team. This was a very hard decision to make but I called a few players that were already playing over there to talk about what hockey life was like and everything they said was positive so I thought I would try it.

Did you think that if you stayed in Canada you could now be the main goalkeeper of the national team?

Honestly, no. It so happened historically that we have a good history with goalkeepers. I really respect all the guys from Canada who are now playing in the NHL.

You have a child. Does he enjoy hockey and what do you see in his future?

Yes I have a 3 year old son. He is just starting to get interested in hockey and really enjoys watching me play and also watching hockey on TV. I hope that he will become a great right handed defence man hahahhaha.
But really I hope that he has passion and love for the game like I do and that he wants to play hockey as he grows up. I will really enjoy watching him follow his dreams.

Matt Dalton with his son

Do you talk at home with your family about past games?

It happens sometimes. Usually, right after the game, I talk with my dad and my wife. I do not try to talk about it the next day. I used talk more about game but now i try not to focus to much on past games and just live in the moment as much as possible

In the Asian Hockey League next season a new team will appear. How will this affect the championship?

I think it’s great for the league. They are located in a good city and it will be easy to get to it. I hope that the team is competitive , but I believe that, like any other new club, it may take them several years for them to build there team up.

You have been to many cities and countries. What places do you remember most and why?

This is a difficult question, since I have been to so many beautiful places. One of my favorite cities is Prague. They are very friendly people and very good food. Prague is an historical city, so tourists will definitely be interested in visiting there. I have been there several times with my team and I have only positive impressions about this city. I would also mention Moscow, I just love the city, there is always something to do and thins to see.

Is there a country that you would like to visit in the future for the first time?

I have never been to the UK, but I think I will like it there. All my ancestors came from there and it would be great to go and look at this counties. There is so much history between all of them and it would be very interesting for me. I really enjoy history.

The Asian League season was interrupted in the final matches. How frustrating  was that?

Yes this is very frustrating that we had to cancel the rest of the finals. But I also understand why it was done. It makes me feel good that they were concerned about everyone’s health. But it is a pity that we could not finish.

How did you get No. 86?

In the summer they called me and asked what number I wanted. I said I want No. 30, but it was unavailable . Then I thought and decided that I could take No. 1. but it turned out that number was also unavailable. Then I wanted choose No. 86, because that was the year I was born in 1986, he turned out to be free and so happened that from that moment I play under this number.

“You always had helmets painted.” Which helmet design do you like most?

I think this is the helmet in which I play for the South Korean national team. It depicts Sun-Shin who is a hero in Korean for what he was able to do on the battle field.

Matt Dalton helmet in South Korea match

How do you feel about naturalization?

I think that it is great but it also has be controlled. I also feel that the naturalized players need to be playing for the right reason and have pride for the team that they are playing for. I think that it has really helped some countries for hockey and elevated there level of play. Which has given players more experience then they would of gotten. I think that it can help some players with someone to talk to about their experience in hockey. I think that most countries are very responsible when it comes to this situation so I feel like it is a positive for the game of hockey and it can help grow the game.

At the World Championships in Kazakhstan, you became the best goalkeeper. What does this title mean to you?

This is a great honour there was many great goalies at this tournament so to get this award was a great honour and I was happy to show that I can still play at a high level.

Matt Dalton – the best goalkeeper of the 2019 Div IA World Cup in Kazakhstan

Did you like Kazakhstan as a whole?

Yes I did, our hotel was great and also the facilities and the ice rink were first class. It was a great experience and our team had a good time. I had been to the city many years before and played in the old ice rink. It is a very beautiful city.

What is the difference between Asian, European and North American leagues?

This is a difficult question. I have been playing in Asia for a long time and it is difficult to compare their league with others. In the Asian Hockey League, players are very experienced and fast. Hockey players from other countries come to Asia every year, which makes local players develop and become better.

“Which forwards don’t you like?”

There are no forwards that I don’t like, but there are those whom I do not like to play, against as they are very strong on the ice and can embarrass you.

Where are you now and how do you spend your free time?

 Now I am in the small Canadian town of Grand Bend. Here I spend time with the family during the off-season. I spend most of my free time working on our house and yard. I try to play golf and fish when the weather allows me to do so.

You have a lot of pictures from fishing. What was the biggest catch in your memory?

Probably, I caught salmon weighing 24 pounds.

Matt Dalton Catch of the day

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