Year: 2020 (page 1 of 8)

Edmonton to host 2021 world junior hockey championship with no fans

Team Canada players reach for the trophy after defeating Russia 4-3 in the gold medal game at the World Junior Hockey Championships, Sunday, January 5, 2020 in Ostrava, Czech Republic

By The Canadian Press

Edmonton will host another major hockey event with no fans after the International Ice Hockey Federation confirmed Rogers Place will be the site of the 2021 world junior championship on Thursday.

The IIHF Council approved the Hockey Canada plan, which sees one of two planned cities for the 2021 event maintain hosting duties during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event originally was scheduled to be held in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., from Dec. 26, 2020 to Jan. 5, 2021.

Organizers now say the event will return to those two cities — with the hope of having fans — in 2022.

No tournament dates have been confirmed for the revamped 2021 event.

Rogers Place currently is hosting the final two rounds of the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs. Edmonton and Toronto served as co-hosts for the entire NHL post-season.

“This is a tough decision to have to take, but ultimately we did not have a choice,” IIHF president Rene Fasel said in a statement.

“The health and safety of players, officials, and fans is our top priority. We were impressed with the presentation from the local organizing committee outlining how a potential bubble scenario would operate within Edmonton, and we are confident that we can follow the NHL’s great example in creating a safe environment for teams to compete.”

Hockey Canada approved of the decision to keep the event in Alberta for two years.

“These are extraordinary times, and we understand the world juniors will look different this year while being played in one venue with additional safety precautions,” Hockey Canada president Tom Renney said in a statement.

Gothenburg, Sweden, which was slated to host the event in 2022, will now do so in 2024.

Novosibirsk, Russia, will host the 2023 event.

The IIHF says keeping the event in Canada, where the tournament traditionally has much higher attendance, in 2022 can help cover financial losses expected to occur in 2021.

“This solution will allow for the IIHF together with Hockey Canada to reduce the overall costs associated with putting on the 2021 tournament in a bubble environment,” Fasel said.

“We asked a lot of our Swedish partners to make this adjustment in a short amount of time, but we needed their co-operation to save this tournament and make it possible for the world juniors to be delivered this year.”

Organizers of the 2021 event say a competition bubble will isolate teams and tournament officials within the same Edmonton Ice District being used for the NHL.

The IIHF says there will be no promotion or relegation following the 2021 tournament.

The IIHF Council has voted today to initiate a series of tournament cancellations for all lower division tournaments in the men’s U20 category. The 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship will also be cancelled together with all other tournaments in the women’s U18 category. 

Canada won the 2020 event in the Czech Republic.

Discussions on 2021 World Championship to headline IIHF Council meeting

Inside the Games

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is set to discuss concerns surrounding Belarus and Latvia co-hosting the 2021 Men’s World Championship during its latest Council meeting tomorrow.

Next year’s World Championship is likely to be the main item on the agenda at the Council meeting, which will be held remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Belarus co-hosting the IIHF’s flagship tournament outside of the Winter Olympic Games has been thrown into doubt amid widespread protests in the country following the disputed re-election of Alexander Lukashenko as President last month.

Latvia has called on the IIHF to find another co-host for the event and has threatened to withdraw if the worldwide governing body fails to do so.

Newly-appointed Belarusian Ice Hockey Association President Dmitri Baskov has claimed the nation can still jointly stage the competition and claimed there is no reason for the IIHF to strip the country of its hosting rights.

Belarus has also suggested it could host the 2021 World Championship alone if Latvia follows through with its threat to pull out.

Belarus co-hosting the 2021 IIHF World Championship has been thrown into doubt amid protests in the country

The topic is on the agenda for the IIHF Council meeting after the Latvian Government wrote an official letter to the organisation calling for Belarus to be removed as a co-host.

A final decision on the tournament is not expected to be made tomorrow, with IIHF President René Fasel recently claiming it was “too early” to make conclusions on the tournament.

Belarus is due to stage matches in 2021 at Minsk Arena, alongside co-hosts Latvia, which plans to use Arena Riga.

Both the semi-finals and the medal matches are set to be held in Minsk.

IIHF Council member and Russian Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretiak said the worldwide body was committed to staging its events over the coming season after the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of all World Championships in 2020.

Tretiak told Russia’s official state news agency TASS the IIHF was looking at the National Hockey League (NHL), which has resumed its season, as an example of how its competitions can be held.

“Firstly, we are constantly monitoring the situation that exists in the world now,” he said. 

“Secondly, we have an example in the form of how the National Hockey League is currently holding the Stanley Cup, it is expensive and the NHL has invested a lot of money there. 

“But the International Federation is definitely planning to hold the youth, women’s and men’s world championships, with or without spectators – time will tell.”

IIHF decision looming on world juniors

By The Canadian Press

A decision has yet to be made on whether the 2021 world junior men’s hockey championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., will be played with or without fans.

The International Ice Hockey Federation’s council will meet later this month to review the status of all tournaments in 2020-21, according to an IIHF spokesman.

Council will hear recommendations and updates from the IIHF’s COVID-19 expert group and host cities.

The 2020 men’s world hockey championship in Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland scheduled for May, the women’s championship in Halifax in March and the men’s world under-18 championship in Michigan in April were all cancelled because of the pandemic.

The 10-country world junior tournament scheduled for Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 at Rogers Place in Edmonton and Westerner Park in Red Deer features the top under-20 players in the world.

“At present time, there has been no change to the traditional hosting model for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Red Deer,” Hockey Canada said Tuesday in a statement.

“Hockey Canada continues to engage in daily communication with the IIHF, the host communities of Edmonton and Red Deer, and the appropriate health authorities to examine all options for hosting the world junior championship in December and January.

“The health and safety of all participants and the community at large remains a priority for Hockey Canada, and our organization will continue to work towards hosting a safe, successful event on behalf of the IIHF.”

Edmonton and Toronto are currently hub cities for NHL playoffs. That league intends to complete the 2019-20 season interrupted for four months by the pandemic.

Players, coaches and team staff are walled off from the general public in hotels and arenas. Edmonton will host the Stanley Cup final.

No one in the “secure zones” have tested positive for the virus so far, according to the NHL.

“Given the current COVID-19 situation within Canada, together with the bubble measures that have been implemented very successfully by the NHL so far in Edmonton and Toronto, there could be discussions surrounding the feasibility of holding the world juniors in a similar environment,” the IIHF’s Adam Steiss told The Canadian Press in an email Tuesday.

“The health and safety of players, coaches, officials, arena staff, and fans remains a top priority.”

Maxim Viktorov: “In Croatia in the 90s I received more money”

By Vitaly Nesterov – National Teams of Ice Hockey

The head coach of the Night Hockey League club “Yadreny Vozhd” Maxim Viktorov in an exclusive interview with our website spoke about life in Croatia and local hockey in the 90s.

Why Croatia?

I left in the mid-90s for Croatia to play for Medvescak by invitation. I left, it seems, in the 96-97 season after the games for SAK Moscow.

I played three seasons at Medvescak, and in the second to the third season I was allowed to play for the national team.

The move to Croatia was due to the invitation of the “Sab-Spartak Moscow-2” coach Yuri Nikolaevich Novikov, a well-known coach both in Russia and in the world. Before joining SAK, I played on that team. At that time, he was invited to work as a head coach at Medvescak and he invited me as one of the leading players of the team. Actually, I agreed. Then in Russia everything was not so simple with hockey and with life. I approximately remember the low level of salaries then, and traveling abroad was generally considered a miracle. Therefore, it was interesting to go and try to play there. Arriving there, I met other hockey players from Russia whom I did not know. They were mostly veterans, but there were also younger hockey players. As for the Croatian national team, it seems that only Gennadi Gorbachev was there before me. If so, then it turns out that I am the second Russian in the history to play for the Croatian national team.

Gennadi Gorbachev took part in the world championships for the Croatian national team in 1994, 1995 and 1996. Gorbachev was the top scorer of the tournament in 1996.

I spent three years in Croatia, played at the World Championships and left for Russia, but I didn’t gain a foothold anywhere. I had to pause a little. Then I began to play for the Sokol Novocheboksarsk.  I went to my last world championships. In the same season and then returned to Medvescak for half a season, and did not go to play for the national team four a fourth World Championships. The injuries began, so I decided to end my career. Recently I have been receiving invitations to work as a trainer in Croatia, but now I have other tasks related to the project in Moscow.

Maxim Viktorov head coach of the Night Hockey League club Yadreny Vozhd

What is Croatian ice hockey in the 90s?

Croatian ice hockey has not changed in the 90s, 2000s and 2020. I regularly follow hockey in the country, I know the situation from the inside, because I have good relations with the sports director of one of the clubs and with the president of another club team, and I regularly visit this country myself.

In the 90s there were four clubs in which both Russians and Slovaks played and a few Czechs. Then there were some restrictions on the number of foreign players on the teams. I, Gorbachev and a Slovak were on Medvescak. Naturally, there were also local players. The best Croatian hockey players were gathered in “Medvescak”, since the club has its own winning history, every season there was a task to win. It is important to understand that there it is amateur hockey by our standards. I knew that if I wanted to continue to play at a good level, I had to constantly train. So I did it on my own time, kept myself in shape. We played in international league, there it was a joint league with Slovenia and Hungarian clubs. There were many tournaments, as Hungary and Slovenia are nearby. International championships were normal. Sport in Croatia is generally very developed,

At that time the salaries were higher than in Russia, comfortable living, wonderful climate, kind people. In general, I found only positive impressions of Croatia.

I quickly joined the team, the team accepted me, and I began to show good results. I was offered to stay for the next season, and Yuri Nikolaevich at that time had already left for Soviet Wings. He called me to his place an ask me to play at the, Mayor’s Cup, but it didn’t work out for me and I came back to Medvescak. They were waiting for me there, everyone was happy with everything, we won, we were champions, I was the best player. and after the second season, I was told: to stay with the club for another season, They give me citizenship and was told me” I would play for the national team.” I agreed. I also had a offer from Slovenia, where Sergei Stolbun played in Jesenica. He invited me there, but I refused, as everything suited me at Medvescak, and the agreement was in terms of playing for the Croatian national team, so I stayed. And I got citizenship, got the right to play for the national team and went to the World Championships.

Croatia squad?

The games for the national team practically did not differ from the games for the club, because both in the club and on the national team, all the hope was on me, because I was a foreign, So I had to carry the whole team. Of course, my teammates helped me, because we were already had played together, so it was easier for me. At theskill  level that we had, we had enough strength to beat serious opponents. But without my 100% dedication and extra efforts it would be hard to achieve something. We did not have a goal to win the tournament, we had goals either not to be demoted to the lower division or to take a medal from the championships. I played in three tournaments – Group C in the Netherlands in 1999, Group C in China in 2000, we got promoted and finished 3rd place in 2001 we played at IB in Slovenia. I still have a medal for the 3rd place finish.

What now?

I had good relationships with both players and people from the people who ran the hockey club, and not only. I have been friends with Marin Miljak for many years, we met him when he was still a Zagreb player. We often see each other and I communicate with his parents, with his family. Marin is a wonderful person with a lot of experience. He now works at Zagreb as a coach and sports director. Last season, under his leadership, the club for the first time in many years, it seems, in 36 years, became the champions of Croatia and broke the dominance of Medvescak.

Now professional “Medvescak” does not exist, only a school and a youth team are working. In other clubs the situation is no better. In principle, it is not clear how the future seasons of both the local and foreign championships will develop, not only because of financial problems, but also because of the coronavirus.

And at the moment I work as a coach in the Moscow club of the Night Hockey League “Yadreny Vozhd”, and since this season I am also a regional representative of the NHL in Moscow.

Q & A with Dan Locmelis

By Maxim Garashchuk – National Teams of ice hockey

At the age of 15, Dans Lochmelis moved from Latvia to Sweden, where he now plays for the Luleå club system and already in the first season abroad, the 16-year-old forward managed to become the best sniper in the Sweden U16 Elite league.

How did you start playing hockey?

My father used to play hockey, and when I was two years old, he took me with him and I would skate on the ice skated. Once my dad and I went to eat at a cafe after his training, then the guys would trained on ice and I told my father that I also want to play hockey. This is how my hockey career began.

Why did you choose the forward position?

I don’t know why I chose the forward position, but I can say that I have not even tried to play other positions.

How did it happen that you moved to Sweden so early?

An agent called me and offered for me to try my hand in Sweden, where everything is high level and where the club pays for everything. I think that very few people would refuse this offer, so I went to Sweden.

Did you know Sandis Vilmanis before coming to Sweden?

Yes, I knew Sandis before going to Sweden, as we often played against each other. In the end, it turned out that the agent offered both of us to go to the same country and now we have become teammates.

What were your initial expectations from the first season in Sweden?

I really didn’t expect much. I just wanted to train and play at a high level.

Were you surprised that you managed to be one of best players and finish in the TOP-3 among scoring leaders?

Yes, I was surprised. I didn’t think that my debut season abroad would turn out this good.

Is it an achievement for you that you have already become captain of the national team for your age group?

I do not consider this an achievement, but being the captain is a great honor for me.

Rainers and Dans with Team Latvia U16

What is the difference between a captain and a regular player?

There is no big difference, but the captain, unlike an ordinary player, should be an example for the whole team.

Who do you consider the best Latvian hockey players?

Not to say that I have idols, but if I were to pick TOP 5 of the best Latvian players, it would look like this: Rudolf Balcers, Kaspars Daugavins,Theodor Blueger, Lauris Darzins and Miks Indrasis.

Was it a shame that in the end you did not manage to overtake your friend in points scored?

No, there was no such feeling. Hockey is a team sport. Basically I played with Sandis on the same line, so we helped each other score points.

You have already have been playing for Lulea U18 team this year. was it hard so abruptly to switch from one age category to another?

It was a little difficult. Faster hockey in U18, you have to make faster decisions, and this made the game more difficult and more interesting.

Are you ready to play fully in the U18 league?

Definitely, I’m ready.

Luleå plays in SHL. How soon do you think you and Sandis will debut in the top league?

I think Sandis and I can make our SHL debut, but definitely not this season.Of course, every hockey player would like to debut in adult hockey as fast as possible.

Did you follow the situation with Riga Dynamo?

Yes, and now I continue to follow the news about Riga Dynamo.

Next year, some of the games of the World ice hockey Championship should be held in Riga. Is this an important event for Latvia?

I think yes. This will be a great opportunity to see the NHL players and other top leagues. Latvia has the best fans, I think they can help national team in the fight for the title.

Did you manage to learn the language during your time in Sweden?

Now I know a little Swedish. I think that this was the hard part learning a new language for me when moving from Latvia to Sweden.

What was your most memorable moment in the 2019/20 season?

It was the moment when we reached the quarter finals. It’s a pity that due to COVID-19 we were unable continue the season. We had a good chance of winning it all.

What are your goals for the next season?

First of all, I would like to win the championship with Lulea U18 and then I would like to play for the U20 team.

First Cuban American NHL Player Al Montoya Looks to Expand Hockey’s Reach in Hispanic Community

HELSINKI – JANUARY 5: Team USA wins the gold medal by defeating Team Canada 4-3 at the World Jr. Hockey Championships in Helsinki, Finland at the Helsinki Ice Arena.January 5, 2004

By Heather RuleUSA Hockey

Montoya believes if young Hispanic players get to try hockey, they’ll fall in love just as he did.

Al Montoya, the first Cuban American to play in the NHL, says he was also the first native Spanish speaker in the 100-year history of the league. 

Montoya finds both facts amazing, but also believes members of the Hispanic community would fall in love with the game as he did while growing up in Chicago. That is as long as they’re given the opportunity to try the sport.

“I realized the weight of what being the first Cuban American was the day I got drafted,” Montoya said. “You’re not representing yourself anymore. You’re representing the community. And I embraced it.” 

He spent 15 years in professional hockey as a goaltender, but it’s also his family history that results in Montoya speaking with such pride.

Montoya’s mother was born and raised in Cuba. His grandparents fled Cuba and from the Castro regime in 1963 for the United States. They went from being landowners in Cuba to Montoya’s grandfather “selling strawberries on the side of the road and working at McDonald’s,” Montoya shared. 

It’s the work ethic from his grandparents, and his mother working as a doctor, that has rubbed off on Montoya, now 35 years old. He recalls his grandfather telling him how grateful he was for the United States, the place that gave him his freedom. 

“One of the prouder moments of my life is standing on that blue line or that red line, looking up at our flag and knowing the sacrifices that they made to give me that opportunity of freedom,” Montoya said. “They passed it down to me. I can’t say enough about it.” 

Raised by his single mother and his grandparents along with three brothers, Montoya followed his older brother in playing hockey. Montoya started out as a skater, taking up hockey at 3 years old. He began hockey as a forward, but the next year, his team didn’t have a goalie. He remembers playing in a house league before that, where the goaltender bag cycled between teammates, allowing everyone a shot to try the position.  

That second year of mites, “I took that bag, and I never gave it back,” Montoya said. 

He eventually ended up with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program at 16 years old. In 2004, he was part of the U.S. National Junior Team that went undefeated (6-0-0) to win the first-ever International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship gold medal for the United States. Montoya was named Best Goaltender and named to the All-Star Team. 

He called that 2004 team, which included Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, “one of the best teams ever produced by USA Hockey.”

“This is our chance to make this statement and be the first team to ever win, the first U.S. team to win a gold medal,” Montoya said. “Once that American flag is going up, and you know you won it, and you’re surrounded by your brothers, your family, your teammates. It’s really a moment I’ll never forget.” 

He played for the University of Michigan when he was 17 years old and went 86-29-8 there across three seasons. The New York Rangers drafted him sixth overall in 2004. That’s when he realized the platform he had as the first Cuban American NHL player. He also played in Puerto Rico, gave interviews in Spanish (his first language growing up) and even had a sandwich named after him at the Carnegie Deli.

He made his NHL debut April 1, 2009 with the Phoenix Coyotes, coached at the time by Wayne Gretzky. Montoya earned a 23-save shutout in a 3-0 victory over Colorado at the Pepsi Center. He couldn’t have scripted it any better.

“Getting that chance to live that ultimate dream that first game is a moment that will always be close to my heart,” Montoya said. 

KOSICE, SLOVAKIA – MAY 2: Martin Roymark #22 of Team Norway tries to jump on a rebound as Al Montoya #35 of Team USA makes a save during preliminary round action at the 2011 IIHF World Championship.

He ended up playing 168 games in the NHL (67-49-24 with a 2.65 GAA and .908 save percentage) across nine seasons with Phoenix, the New York Islanders, Winnipeg, Florida, Montreal and Edmonton through the 2017-18 season.  

His grandparents died in 2008 and didn’t get a chance to see him play in the NHL, but they watched him at the University of Michigan and saw him get drafted. 

“They got to watch me play which was, now that I think about it, it makes my heart whole,” Montoya said.  

A year into retirement from hockey, Montoya spent time with his family and took “a spiritual, emotional trip” to Cuba last summer. He was the first in his family to return since 1963. Montoya has appreciated this time in retirement.

It’s given me the time to be intentional about the next phase of my life, and that’s dedicating my second career to my passions, which are hockey and the Hispanic community,” Montoya said.

His goal is to grow hockey by incorporating Latinos into the conversation around the sport. Recently, he was a panelist for USA Hockey’s Let’s Grow Forward webinar. This focused on different ways the Hispanic community is already joining the larger hockey family and, even more importantly, discussed ways to get them further involved. During the webinar, Montoya and fellow panelist, Robert Torres, talked about their work together. Montoya has partnered with Torres’ organization Parents for Peace and Justice, a Hispanic community in Montoya’s Chicago hometown. Montoya is also part of the NHL’s Player Inclusion Committee.

Montoya sees a grassroots effort taking shape, bringing hockey to Hispanic communities that maybe cannot afford to play hockey or don’t immediately gravitate toward the sport. Hockey isn’t the first sport Hispanics reach out to, Montoya added. In Cuba, there was no ice; kids play baseball or box, he said.

Still, he believes with the celebratory nature of Hispanic culture and how everyone loves to come together that there’s no reason that Hispanics shouldn’t be passionate about hockey as well, he said.

“I know they love speed, I know they love action,” Montoya said. “And by doing that and by starting at the grassroots level, you’ll check all the boxes at the end of the day with fan inclusion and marketing players. The game will continue to grow.”

He’s making it a goal to get out and interact with youth, so he can get them involved in hockey at more of a grassroots level. Or maybe his role will also be working at the NHL level to help put fans in the seats. He’d love for the “fantastic” game of hockey and the “fantastic” Hispanic community to be blended together.

Montoya’s outreach is local with the Hispanic community, but he’s also had conversations with NHL general managers and presidents. It’s all about finding a home for his vision and getting to work right away.

“It started out as an idea, and I’ve had a year to grow this thing and grow this thing,” Montoya said. “I’m looking forward to finally putting it all together.”

How Slovak Vladimir Kurian became a Chilean hockey player

By IamVitoNesta – National Teams of Ice Hockey Blog @ Sports.ru

Vladimir Kurian – about his career, about life, about Chile at IIHF

Why did you choose hockey?

It was an easy choice for me, I still remember that moment. When I was 9, I watched the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer on TV. At the time, I knew nothing about hockey, as I spent most of my time taking piano lessons. My mother also played the piano, and I really enjoyed playing. But that day changed everything. For the first time I saw a game that I fell in love with instantly, with such players as Palffy, Stastny, Satan became a kind of example for me. That day we beat Canada 3: 1 and then I said to my father “I want to become a hockey player!” Everything turned out to be go great – we lived in Banska Bystrica, very close to the ice arena, and a school with a sports bias, and I was taken to hockey.

What made you move to Chile?

After a difficult period in my life in Slovakia, I wanted to start life from scratch. My parents died of cancer – my father died when I was 25, and my mother 5 years later. They were literally dying in front of my eyes, it was the most difficult period in my life and it was not easy to cope with it. At that moment I realized that I had to leave Slovakia for a while. The choice was between Canada and Chile, in Canada I lived for some time, and therefore I knew the language and I had several acquaintances there. But in Chile I had a friend whom we met in the USA, when I worked there in the “Work and travel” program. Subsequently, we traveled a lot around the America and once he came to me in Slovakia. In the end, I flew to Chile, I wanted to stay there for 3 months as a tourist. But during this time I fell in love with this country, people were friendly to me, and I felt that I can start my new life here. It took me some time to learn Spanish. Now in Chile I am an independent person, I have my own business, I discover new things for myself in this country, and I help to develop hockey in Chile.

How did you get into Chilean hockey?

 I have always loved hockey, but I had no idea that there is hockey in Chile. But when I found out about this, I looked on the Internet for something about hockey in the country, and found the club “Santiago Yeti”. I contacted the club, I was immediately answered and invited to the team. At that time, I was without equipment, so I had to borrow skates and a couple of golf clubs. The team believed that since I was from Slovakia, I was playing professionally, so I spent more and more time on the ice, and then I was offered to become a become a player coach.

Vladimir Kurian in his Chilian Jersey

Do you play for any club now?

No, at one time I played for my city in the junior league, there was no chance of a professional career, since this is more of a hobby than a job with which I would like to connect my life. But hockey is still important for me.

Did the Chilean national team fulfill their tasks at the Latam Cup?

 First of all, I want to say that I am proud to be a player of the Chilean national team and a part of Chilean hockey. I came here 4 years ago, received citizenship and residence, and was able to play for the Chilean national team. We have a lot of players who play passive hockey, but they try hard to improve their skills.

Latam Cup became a huge experience for us, we were able to assess our level, the level of other teams, players, and realized that we had a huge work ahead of us to improve the quality and level of play. If we return to your question, then yes, we are satisfied with the performance of our team, and this is an invaluable experience gained at the Latam Cup.

Latam Cup is a hockey tournament among the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, held annually in Florida (ed.), And the Chile national team in the last tournament took 6th place out of 7.

After the Latam Cup, Colombia joined the IIHF, what are the plans for the future of hockey in Chile?

Yes, becoming a part of IIHF is a great honor both for Colombia and for Latin America in general. Congratulations to them, they deserve it, it shows that the level of hockey in Latin America is growing. But Chile is still far from the IIHF. Chile is a beginner in hockey, we don’t even have the right training for our athletes, but we are trying to move on. Our main goal is to create a development program and involve children in hockey. It is also necessary to create a federation in order to get the attention of the government and get some support, but this is not an easy task. In the meantime, you need to do basic things, spend more time on the ice, find financial support for the purchase of hockey equipment, support the school.

What do you do in your free time from hockey?

I work as a DJ and a music producer, I started my own business importing vegan products from Slovakia to Chile, so there is very little time left for hockey.

Do you play your music in the dressing room?

 Not really, I leave the choice to my partners. Electronic music is not as popular in Latin America as in Europe.

How many people attend your concerts?

At the moment I’m more of a music producer than a DJ. Because of the business, there is practically no time left to work as a DJ. Therefore, I enjoy music as a producer.

What Track do you Recommend?

I would recommend “The Awakening”, this track I composed in Chile, it describes my big change in life.

Women’s Ice hockey team tuning up for Challenge Cup of Asia

Forty Women at selection camp in Iran

Source: Iran Skating Federation

According to the Ice Skating Federation of Iran, the Iran’s women’s ice hockey team started the camp for the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia.

The event will be held in Manilla, Philippines in May 2021.

According to the public relations of the Iran Skating Federation said that  ice hockey women athletes have passed the first stage of their selection camp to participate at IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia in Manilla.

Forty athletes from the provinces of Tehran, Tehran County, Eslamshahr County , Qods County, Ray County and Pakdasht County  attended and the techniques, tactics and skills of skating were held The athletes were evaluated under the supervision of the technical staff of the national ice hockey team, and the names of those invited to the next stage will be announced through the official website of the Skating Federation.

The first stage of the selection camp for men’s ice hockey players to participate in the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia., which will be held in Singapore in May 2021, will be held on Wednesday, September 26, 2020

The purpose of the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia is to provide competitive opportunities for Asian teams that are either in the lower divisions of the IIHF World Championships or did not compete in any IIHF World Championships.

The first women’s tournament took place in Shanghai, China from April 10 to 14, 2010.

Q & A with Patryk Wysocki

By Maxim Garashchuk – National Teams of ice Hockey

The only Polish player in the history of the MHL, 20-year-old defender Patrick Wysocski, who managed to play for clubs from four countries where hockey is not very popular, he spoke about himself, and also shared his opinion whether weak teams are needed in local leagues.

How did you start playing hockey and why did you choose this sport?

I started playing hockey when I was four years old. It all started with the fact that my older brother also played hockey, he is four years older than me. Why did you choose this particular sport? I was invited to train with my brother, I skated with them on the ice and, apparently, I liked it alot.

You were born in Belarus, but why did you decide to play for the Polish national team?

Yes, I was born in the town of Nesvizh. My dad is Belarusian, and my mom is from Poland. Almost immediately we moved to Poland and it so happened that because of this I only have a Polish passport.

Was there an opportunity to get into the national team of Belarus and did you ever want to play for them?

Of course, there was no such proposal from Belarus. I think if it were, then my parents and I would have thought about it, and perhaps I would try to play for Belarus.

In the Polish championship, two of the three clubs you played for were youth. ( Patrick Wysocski played for SMS Sosnowiec U20, GKS Katowice and PhZL Katowice U23 )

Yes, there is a PHZL Katowice U23 in the championship. It is considered the preparatory team for the World Junior Championships. All the guys who want to be in the national team can get there and play in the Polish championship. 1-2 days before the game they will be added to the roster and told to prepare for the game. If I am not mistaken, the team, after the World Junior Championships, which ends in December, no longer takes part in the league.

Is it good that there is such a team in the PHL?

Yes, I think it is needed. It’s funny that you play in your club at the youth level and you can be called up to the Under 23 team. This allows more games to be played per season, which allows for additional XP. If you are a young player, you can only get this opportunity in Poland.

According to the statistics of Eliteprospects, in the 15/16 season you played only in the national team. Is it really so?

No, a little different. Yes, I played in the national team, and at the club level I played for the Belarusian junior for HC Brest.

Viktor Zaluzky and Patryk Wysocski in the HC Brest

At the end of the 16/17 season you left Brest. What caused this?

I moved from Brest to Gdansk. First of all, conditions were better in Gdansk. When I was 16 years old, I did not look at salaries, but in Belarus they offered much less money. In Poland, the level was higher, and so my parents and I decided that we needed to move to Gdansk. And the coach at MH Automatyka Gdansk was Kovalev, who had experience of working in the Minsk Dynamo.

How did it happen that yourself, Kirill Gerasimenko and Dmitri Shcherbakov went out on the ice with basketballs?

There is a basketball team in Gdansk. We were asked to shoot a video, like an invitation to a basketball games. So we went out with the basketballs

Kirill Gerasimenko, Dmitri Shcherbakov and Patryk Wysocski in Gdansk

You played for the Polish national team for four seasons in a row.

I played two times at the junior and youth world championships.

Did you expect to be called up to the national team last season?

I did not receive a call to the main team. So far, no one has written to me and no one has called. It’s hard to say whether I was waiting or not. Somehow I didn’t think about it. If they ask me to go – I will go. I believe that I will get my chance, because I am only 20 years old. You can say that I am still young.

Next year, the 2021 World Championships in the IB division will be held in Katowice. Would you like to play there?

Yes, of course, I would like to play. This is only for the benefit of your career to say that you played with the national team of your country. It’s kind of a plus. It’s cool that we will play at home.

How do you assess the chances of the Polish national team to be promoted?

It seems to me that Poland can go to IA, because the IB division is not the level at which the national team of our country should be in. A year ago, there was a chance to rise higher, but one point was not enough.

For you, the past season was you did not score any goals. Will this affect your performance in the upcoming season?

In fact, it’s a shame that this season I failed to score. I think that every coach sees the game differently and every player has his own role on the team. There are defenders who do not know how to attack, but defend well, and there are defenders who play poorly in defense, but look good in attack. I will try to score more.

You’ve already had something similar. For the first time in a long time, then you distinguished yourself in the Kunlun Red Star Heilongjiang. This was your first goal in the MHL. Do you remember how you got to throw?

Yes, I remember that match. We played against Kapitan Stupino. We were losing
0: 5. I shot the puck from the blue line and it somehow flew into the goal. And in general, that game ended 5: 7.

Patryk Wysocski with puck of first goal in MHL

Do you still have that puck?

Yes, I took it. It lies at my house and reminds me of the MHL.

What Medals have you won?

I have two silver medals from the World Youth Championship and a gold one from the junior one. I think these are the most valuable of the medals.

How did you manage to win the junior world championship?

We scored more than the opponents (lol). We meshed into one whole team. The most important thing is that everyone supported each other and played better with each other, therefore we won gold medal.

Maciej Rybak and Patrick Wysocski celebrate winning the 2016 Junior World Championships

On February 9, the Polish national team beat Kazakhstan in the pre qualification for the Olympic Games. Did you watch that match and were you surprised by the result?

Yes, I watched the match when the Poles played against the Kazakhs. It’s cool that Poland managed to win. I was a little shocked that Kazakhstan lost with such a squad, especially at home, Hockey is such a game that it is not clear who will win and when.

Two new teams will play in the PHL next season. Do you think it is right that lower division clubs get their chance in the PHL?

Yes, two clubs got a chance to play in PHL, and one team was eliminated – MH Automatyka Gdansk . I played there. They have minor financial and ice-rink problems. Let the league expand. Why not? Let there be more teams, more guys playing. Then the level of Polish hockey will rise. As for me, this is good.

What experience did the Continental Cup give you?

I didn’t play much in the Continental Cup. There was a story there. At Katowice we had a Canadian coach. He preferred to play with five or six defenders, and there were nine of us then. This led to the fact that many players did not play. Anyway, I managed to watch the international tournament. Going at the age of 19, or even just attend such a tournament, to play a couple of shifts is an experience.

With what expectations did you go to Belgium and how professional is everything there in terms of hockey?

When I terminated the contract with ORG Junior Beijing , I came home to Brest to see my parents. I got an agent and we were waiting for offers. It is clear that in the middle of the season it is difficult to get somewhere, because the rosters of the clubs have been formed. For me, the season was not the best, as I was injured with a tear in the ligaments on my knee. In December, an offer came from Antwerp Phantoms. I understood where I was going, that this BeNe is not the best league in the world. I didn’t want to lose the rest of the season and during the time in Belgium I could improve my weaknesses. If we compare Belgian hockey with Polish, then Polish, of course, is a higher level. In BeNe, not all players approach the game professionally. There are professional and semi-professional teams. I expected a little different, but what worked, it worked.

How can you compare part of the season in the Bene league with part of the season in ORG Junior Beijing?

 Here and there my teams were in the last places. When you get into such clubs, you are more on the defensive. As a defender, it even works in my favor. Although you still need to learn to play attack.

ORG Junior Beijing this season beat Moscow Dynamo. Did you communicate with any of your former teammates after that match?

We still correspond with some of them. Then I called the boys and asked how they managed to win. In that game, they only had ten players. They said that they were surprised at their victory. In the course of the season, they did manage to win a lot of games, but here they beat Dynamo with ten men.

ORG Junior Beijing played all home matches in Dmitrov. Do you think this is unfair enough?

Why is it unfair? I think it was the right decision. We were supposed to be based in Riga, but the Chinese hockey players were not given visas and because of this we were told that we would live somewhere in the Moscow region. I think that it even played a positive role, since there were no long flights. All the essentials were in Dmitrov. The town is small, ice-covered and there is a hotel.

A year and a half ago, you got a unique opportunity in a game against MHC Spartak. Your playing time has almost reached 30 minutes. Do you remember that game?

I have more hockey memories with Kunlun than with ORG Junior Beijing. That season it was the other way around, I came to Kunlun in the second part of the season. I have not spent less than 20 minutes on the ice. Sometimes we played four defenders. So in this regard, I was definitely satisfied. Yes, we lost, but everyone got a lot of playing time.

What are your plans for the next season?

I will definitely will not return to Belgium. Now I am not considering the option of continuing my career there, and so far there have been no proposals from their side. In general, there are no plans yet. Due to the coronavirus, almost no one knows anything. Clubs from some countries are already making transfers, starting to conduct trainings, and in many of them nothing has even budged yet. Therefore, I cannot say anything about this yet.

Skate away the winter blues

By Stephanie Lilly – Chao Hanoi

For those who fancy trying out a winter activity in Hanoi, ice skating perfectly fits the bill.

Winter is well and truly here, and for those hailing from colder countries a big part of the season is putting on a pair of skates and gliding across frozen water– or ice as we like to call it. In a country where winter does not come close to freezing, what hope is there for frozen lakes and ponds for people to indulge in the nostalgic activity of ice skating? Believe it or not, the Vietnamese love to skate as much as anyone else, well, nearly. For those keen to give it a try, the Royal City Vincom Mega Mall in Hanoi is an ideal place to give it a spin.

Aside from shopping, the giant mall has an assortment of activities including a large indoor skating rink. Launched in the summer of 2013, the ice rink provides a great way to scratch that winter itch.

After entering the mall, follow the little skates symbol seen throughout the mall until you come upon the giant ice skating rink; you can’t miss it.

It costs 220,000 VND per adult (though is cheaper outside the weekends) and an additional 50,000 VND for skate rental. There are also penguins, dolphins and other animals with seats and handles for children or adults who are a little out of practice and need some support on the slippery ice.

Weekends tend to be busier, but if you make it on a weekday you may have the entire rink to yourself, ideal for working on those rusty spins, loops and axels. Or maybe just to fall over without anybody looking! If you are scared of following you can pay for a chaperone to guide you across the ice. Sometimes events such as skating competitions, a local Hanoi hockey league, or even EDM dance parties are held at the rink.

Hockey players are not to be messed with. Photo courtesy of Hanoi Hockey.

Take your family, go with a group of friends or invite your crush to enjoy a wholesome winter activity. If skating is not your bag do not not fear, this mall is “mega” for a good reason, a huge selection of activities are on offer including bowling, arcades, a cinema and a solid selection of restaurants serving hot food, bubble tea, ice cream and more.

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