Category: Europe (page 1 of 10)

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.” 

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.

The super Vauclair bros, it’s the end of an era!

Tristan Vauclair, Julien Vauclair

By Damiano Cansani – Leading Sport

Together, they collected over 2’000 National League appearances. We’re talking about the three “Super Vauclair Bros”: in alphabetical order Geoffrey, Julien and Tristan. Three Jurassiens that all played youth hockey for HC Ajoie.

When it comes to young talents it is often said that one in a thousand makes it. In this case, as many as three brothers made it, to a greater or lesser extent, in the top tier of Swiss hockey. That’s a fantastic story. One of them, Julien, was even able to collect an NHL appearances with the Ottawa Senators and, frankly speaking, if he had been born fifteen or so years later, we are certain that there would have been many more appearances in the world’s most prestigious league.

At the end of the 2019-20 season, in a very ungenerous way because of the emergency-situation, the last two brothers that were still playing in the National League – Julien and Tristan – hung up their skates.

What can we say? All the three of them deserve a big round of applause, it’s as simple as that.

They never played at the same time in the same National League team and perhaps this is the only “regret” for these three “Super Bros”. In any case, they have tied their names to three teams in particular. Ajoie, their youth teams, Lugano and Fribourg Gottéron.

Geoffrey, who is today 43 years old, was the first one who hung up his skates at the end of the 2013-14 season. He made his National League debut with Lugano during the 1997-98 season and then played also for Fribourg Gottéron, Olten (1 appearance), Franches-Montagnes and Ajoie where he spent the last 4 years of his career. He was a very talented forward that did good things and that maybe, with all due respect, considering the potential he could also do more. He won the title with Lugano in 1999 when he even scored a goal during the decisive game played at the Valascia against Ambrì-Piotta.

Julien became a real legend in Lugano and his number 3 will stay forever under the roof of the Resega (now Cornèr Arena). He was one of the best Swiss defensemen of this century, he always wore proudly the jersey of the Bianconeri and during the best years he even tallied an impressive number of points. Out of the three brothers, Julien is the one who earned the most prestigious results. He won two times the Swiss title with Lugano, over the years he won several individual prizes, he took part in an AHL All Star Game and even won the silver medal with Switzerland at the 2013 Worlds.

To finish, Tristan is perhaps the one of the three brothers who, with all due respect, had less “pure talent” but that everything he conquered in his career was earned through sweat and hard work. He never won any title but was always appreciated by his fans because of his will to give it the 110% during each single shift. Tristan was the perfect example of the essential player for each team. That kind of a player that perhaps never gifts the fans with spectacular individual plays… but that always gifts the fans with his incredible determination.

Geoffrey, Julien and Tristan were three different brothers when it comes to player type. All of three, however, certainly left their mark in Switzerland this century. One in a thousand makes it… in the case of the Vauclair family, percentages are to be reviewed.

It’s the end of an era. Thanks for all you gave to Swiss hockey and for all you will give again!

Xtraice rink in the Azores.

Xtraice rink at Praia Vitória, on Island of Terceira

By George Da Silva – National Teams of ice Hockey

The archipelago of the Azores is located in the middle of the northern hemisphere of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Islands are about 1,360 km (850 mi) west of continental Portugal, about 1,500 km (930 mi) west of Lisbon, in continental Portugal, about 1,500 km (930 mi) northwest of Morocco, and about 2,500 km (1,600 mi) southeast of Newfoundland, Canada.

There are nine major Azorean islands and an islet cluster, in three main groups. These are Flores and Corvo, to the west; Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, and Faial in the centre; and São Miguel, Santa Maria,
and the Formigas Reef to the east and the Population of the islands are about 250,000.

In 2018 Xtraice opened it ts first ecological ice rink in the Azores (Portugal).

The 100m2 rink was purchased by a Portuguese company that is betting strong on Xtraice synthetic rinks.

Thanks to this initiative the Azorean people and tourists on the island enjoy a typical Christmas activity such as ice skating without being affected by the warm climate on the island.

The rink was installed at Praia Vitória, on Island Terceira. Praia Vitória is one of the most modern cities of The Azores, with a beautiful beach and high class port.

Also In 2019 Xtraice opened a 20x10m rectangular skating rink at Lagoa on the Island of São Miguel. The island is the crown jewel of the Azores not only is it the biggest island, but it the most beautiful island of them all.

Ice Rink in Lagoa, Azores

Local Children skating in Lagoa, Azores

The rinks will ran from the end of November to January 6th of 2019 and from end of November to January 7th of 2020. The rink is ecological and recyclable, avoiding the use of water and electricity. Xtraice rinks are environment friendly which results in large savings both energetically and financially.

No Ice hockey was played but the Azorean people can dream of one day  ice hockey being played in the archipelago of the Azores.

Ice Rink In Transnistria

Ice rink Snezhinka

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

A forgotten remnant of the Soviet Union, Transnistria is an unrecognized country hidden behind a heavily militarized border between Moldova and Ukraine. 

Transnistria is one of a number of frozen conflict zones that emerged following the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union. While almost every other country in the world refuses to acknowledge the independence of Transnistria, this autonomous territory features its own presidential government, a national flag, anthem and even a currency: the Transnistrian Ruble.

One of the most notable things about Transnistria and Tiraspol (the second largest city in Moldova and the capital of Transnistria) in particular is the prevalence of Soviet symbology. While socialist monuments and busts of Lenin may still be commonplace in other former-USSR nations such as Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, Transnistria goes one step further, actually referring to itself as a ‘soviet state.’

The ice  rink Snezhinka

Built according to the Polish project, allows developing such sports as hockey and figure skating in Transnistria . Powerful refrigeration units allow you to keep minus temperatures on the surface of the ice rink.

It offers visitors – cafes , locker rooms, showers , skate rental. The room has permanent stands with 600 seats. During the holidays, additional stands are set up. As a result, the number of seats for spectators is 1058. There are also 2 skate dryers in the ice rink.

Mass Skating, Tiraspol, Moldavia

In June 2008, the construction of the ice rink was completed, and the opening ceremony was performed by world-famous Russian skaters who presented the ice show created by the general director of the Ice Symphony company Ilya Averbukh .

In 2011, a figure skating competition was held at the rink and in August 2013, a monument to the great hockey player Vladimir Krutov was erected at the rink’s entrance. The ceremony was attended his widow Nina Krutov and outstanding soviet hockey players Alexander Yakushev, Sergei Makarov and Alexander Kozhevnikov.

Vladimir Krutov was a two time Olympic champion, five time world champion, winner of the Canada Cup and a multiple U.S.S.R. champion with CSKA. The Vladimir Krutov Hockey Academy was opened, the first international youth tournament in memory of Vladimir Krutov was held at the same time.

Monument of Vladimir Krutov

Tony Hand set to add vast experience to GB Women’s program

GB Women’s head coach Cheryl Smith has welcomed the addition of Tony Hand to the program

By Phil Harrison – Yorkshire Post

Former GB international Hand, a legend of the British game, has seen his role as the national development head coach expanded from overseeing the men’s Under-20s, Under-18s and Under-16s to now work with coaches and players’ from across the women’s national set-up.

The Edinburgh-born former NHL draft pick, who as head coach took the GB men’s team to the final qualifying stages for the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014, took up his national development role in August 2016.

“We have a great women’s program and some amazing young talent mixed in with a core of experienced senior players,” said Sheffield-born Smith,.

Tony Hand, pictured above right with former GB forward Colin Shields

“Tony’s experience will only enhance that and I look forward to working with him in the future. I am sure the coaches and players will learn a lot from Tony’s many years of experience.

Hand, who played for Sheffield Steelers between 1995-99, coached Manchester Phoenix from 2006-17 and is also currently head coach at Murrayfield Racers in the Scottish National league, said: “We have some fantastic talent in the women’s programme, with some very exciting young prospects.

“I’m also looking forward to working alongside the great set of coaches we have in the women’s set-up when next season gets underway.”

Ice Hockey UK chairman, Richard Grieveson, added: “Tony will be a massive asset to the women’s programme. He has done fantastic work with our juniors since 2016 and it seemed natural to expand this to the women too.”

The number of ice hockey players in Denmark is rising for the fifth consecutive year

By Denmark Ice Hockey Union

In the 2018/19 season, Danish ice hockey passed 5,000 active players for the first time, and the number of players after the early 2019/20 season tells of further progress in the number of ice hockey players at home.

Denmark’s Ice Hockey Union now has 5504 ice hockey players, an increase of 357 players – or 6.9 percent – compared to last season.

It is the fifth consecutive year that the number of ice hockey players in Denmark is increasing, and 134 of the new ice hockey players are aged 0-12. Recruiting the very young players is one of the major focus areas of the Danish Ice Hockey Union.

It is also noteworthy that 51 new girls and women have entered the sport in the just concluded the current season.

Development Consultant at the Danish Ice Hockey Union, Christina Benn, is pleased with the rises to the of ice hockey players to the clubs.

First and foremost, we welcome the fine numbers and we have established a central recruitment committee at DIU which will start in earnest when the society opens again. In everyday life, try to set the framework for the clubs so that they can recruit more easily. We have two national recruiting days – Ice Hockey, but in addition our member clubs are also making great efforts to bring in new teammates for current players.

Christina Benn also welcomes the fact that many clubs work with recruitment committees, great creativity and new initiatives in recruiting members.

It’s so inspiring to see, and we hope the clubs will also be inspired by colleagues around the country, says DIU’s development consultant.

As soon as ice hockey  starts up again, Denmark’s Ice Hockey Union has a new projects ready, which will hopefully end up with an increase in the recruitment of girl players and another increase in membership.

German Coach Aims to Establish World Top Four Hockey Team

Toni Söderholm has been coaching the German national ice hockey team since 2019

By United News of India

Germany Ice Hockey coach Toni Soderholm seeks to permanently establish his team, led by NHL superstar Leon Draisaitl to world top four finishes at big events.

Germany were surprise ice hockey silver medallists  at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics but last reached the semifinals at a world championships in 2010 , finishing no better then sixth since then.

Soderholm to the Sportbuzzer portal in an Interview publish on last Monday “It is important that the lads understand that everything is possible. they should always aim for top four placings.” With this year’s world championships cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Soderholm’s next big events with the team are the 2021 world championships and 2022 Olympic Games.

Germany’s star player is forward Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers, Soderholm naminghim “our best offensive player and among the top three offensive players in the world.”

Leon Draisaitl ofthe Edmonton Oilers

Isle of Wight ice rink approval will not be challenged by government

The new rink, which is expected to include indoor sports courts and a climbing wall, is due to open by June

Source:  BBC.com

Plans to replace an ice rink on the Isle of Wight will not be called in by the government despite an objection from Sport England.

The new £3m centre, next to Smallbrook Stadium, Ryde, was approved by the island’s council last month.

However, it could not be formalised until ministers were consulted.

Isle of Wight Council said Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick would not call the decision in.

The new rink will replace Ryde Arena which closed in 2016 due to unpaid rent.

Legislation states where a development would result in the loss of a playing field, and where Sport England has objected to the scheme, the secretary of state must be consulted, an Isle of Wight Council spokesman said.

He added: “The secretary of state wrote to the local planning authority to confirm that the decision will not be called in, and that it could be issued at the local level.

“Therefore, officers have issued the planning permission in line with the decision of the planning committee.”

Sport England previously said the scheme would result in the “significant loss” of a playing field.

Charles Johnston, property director of the public body, said it was “disappointed” by the government decision and added it maintained its objection “since the proposal isn’t in line with our playing fields policy”.

He added: “We will continue to work with the local authority to ensure provision for sport and physical activity in the area.”

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely said: “The land is not a playing pitch, and consequently no loss of a sporting use arises from this development.”

Stutzle leading next generation of German hockey talent

By Canadian Press

Like most kids in Germany, Tim Stutzle started out playing soccer.

He liked tennis, too, and fell in love with both. There was also another itch that needed scratching — hockey.

And like his Canadian, American, Russian, Swedish and Finnish counterparts, Stutzle eventually had to decide which one to pursue more seriously.

It looks like he made the right choice.

Stutzle heads the sport’s next wave of high-end German talent on display at the world junior hockey championship, one that hopes to follow in the footsteps of Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl.

Set to turn 18 in the middle of January, Stutzle is already excelling in his country’s domestic league against men, causing him to rocket up mock NHL draft boards.

And with scouts and general managers having made their yearly pilgrimage to the under-20 tournament, Stutzle hasn’t disappointed. The forward has five assists in five games, runs his team’s power play and is an assassin-like threat every time he touches the puck.

There’s constant chatter that comes with draft hype — a top-10 selection seems likely at this point — but at least for now, those around Stutzle have been impressed with how his feet have stayed firmly on the ground.

“It’s unbelievable the way he’s dealing with that,” German head coach Tobias Abstreiter said. “He’s a very good character guy. He knows what’s important. It doesn’t affect him.

“At this age, it’s very impressive.”

Polite and soft-spoken, Stutzle doesn’t like discussing himself. He’s allowed his play on the ice at an event where many teammates and opponents are two years his senior tell the story.

“It’s a big honour there are so many people talking about me, but we need to settle down maybe a little bit,” said Stutzle, who has five goals and 23 points in 25 games with the Mannheim Eagles in 2019-20. “There’s a long season to go. Then the (draft) decision is made by the teams, not by me.”

“He’s a humble kid,” said German captain Moritz Seider, who went No. 6 to Detroit in 2019. “He’s performing every single night. He has to learn a couple things, but he will adjust quick and has a bright future.”

While the likes Canada’s star and projected No. 1 pick Alexis Lafreniere have grabbed a lot of attention at the world juniors — and rightly so — whichever team winds up taking Stutzle, who has some on-ice traits similar to shifty New York Islanders centre Mathew Barzal, won’t be disappointed.

“Really good young player,” said Canadian assistant Andre Tourigny, also coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s. “He’s fast, he’s tough, he has some creativity. I really like his game.”

But the six-foot, 187-pound Stutzle, who plays on a line in Mannheim with former NHLer Ben Smith, is just one of Germany’s young talents turning heads. He’s been skating with fellow draft-eligible 17 year olds John-Jason Peterka and Lukas Reichel — the nephew of former NHL player Robert Reichel — combining for six goals and 14 points in Ostrava.

Abstreiter said that while sometimes the stars align for a generation of players, credit also needs to go to the country’s hockey federation, which won a surprise silver at the 2018 non-NHL Olympics, and pro clubs for nurturing the talent.

“When extraordinary players get trust and confidence from their teams at home, they can evolve and they can improve and perform at a higher level, and learn a lot,” said Abstreiter, who suited up for Germany at the 2002 Olympics and the 2004 World Cup. “When young players in the German hockey league get a lot of important ice time, you see the results.

“They pay it back.”

Tourigny, who has a player of his own projected to go high at June’s draft in the form of 67’s centre Marco Rossi, said Stutzle’s path reminds him of another meteoric rise from a smaller hockey nation.

“I remember a few years ago when (Switzerland’s) Nico Hischier had a really good world juniors,” the coach said of the No. 1 selection in 2017. “From there it built up and people talked more and more about him. He’s a good player. It’s a good draft year. If you look at the draft this year, there are some pretty good players.”

The Germans were unlucky to be dropped into a powerhouse Group B here — dubbed “The Group of Death” — with Canada, Russia, the United States and host Czech Republic.

They led the Americans midway through the second period and upset the Czechs for the country’s first victory at the world juniors since the 2014 event, but wound up fifth and have to play a relegation series against Kazakhstan.

Germany, which previously hadn’t qualified for the tournament since 2015, won the opener of the three-game set 4-0 and will look to close things out Saturday to secure a spot next year in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta.

That’s of course Draisaitl’s backyard, but while Stutzle has tons of respect for the NHL’s second-leading scorer and has been buoyed watching the No. 3 overall pick in 2014 excel, he wants to chart his own path.

“Leon is his own guy,” he said. “I want to be myself.”

The way things are going, there could be a lot more Draisaitls, and eventually Stutzles, on the way.

“German hockey is getting better and better,” he said. “It’s not only soccer, soccer, soccer.

“It’s also hockey.”

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