To all ISBHF member nations, players, referees and coaches. Yesterday in Sheffield United Kingdom the New ISBHF BOD was elected. I am proud to serve as President along with Roman Torok of Slovakia, Roman Novak of Czech Republic, Tony Iannitto of Canada, Ricky Laperriere of USA, Gabi Missakian of Armenia and Colin Gennoe of South Korea as your new ISBHF BOD. (It should be noted that Switzerland will place someone on the BOD very soon to be part of your ISBHF BOD).
This new BOD will be entrusted with the decision making of ISBHF family. As key issues are discussed, debated and voted on by these BOD members for the good of the sport.
I should also take the time to thank here the contributions of the tremendous Board members who are leaving us but has left important contributions and a stable framework for us to continue into the future. Christoph Curchod of Switzerland, Vit Rezac of the Czech Republic, Alister Cree of UK and John Kontitsis of Greece. On behalf of all we thank them for contributions they have made on our sport.
The meeting itself was held in Sheffield UK. What can we say other than the venue that ball hockey UK selected other that to say it is World Class. Our players, parents, and the ISBHF family who will be descending on Sheffield will see a amazing venue. A rink and facility that will provide the background to some amazing ball hockey to be played for the 18 National teams arriving in Sheffield to strive for Gold. But more so, the venue with its great staff and facilities will provide a framework for memories and friendships to be built. It will keep all the participants close to the rink. Where is just across the street is the British Sport Institute whose facilities and track and state of the art gym provide British Olympic athletes a place to train. Or the recreational facilities that Ice Sheffield has to offer like recreational skating events, and or the high altitude recreational complex linked to this facility there will be much to do. In addition the facility provides wonderful food as we found out at our ISBHF meetings that we held on the complex that the players and fans will have to enjoy as the event goes on. Believe it or not there is a major hockey store right across the street which will also be of service to all players and staff. Yes a hockey store in England!!. In all we were thrilled with this venue and are quite excited to go back to meet these wonderful people and have you all lucky enough to go to Sheffield meet them in July.
Regarding this vibrant city of sport Sheffield really proved to be amazing city to walk through. A bustling city with a real vibe to it. I think this will provide a amazing backdrop to all whether it is going for a sightseeing walk through the city, which has a large mall and very interesting sites to visit, or for the adults to nestle into a pub that has been active as is since the 1700's. This is the backdrop that UK Ball hockey has provided to us from which memories of a lifetime will be made for all. I really cannot wait to go back.
Finally I have to say on behalf of all the ISBHF family that this is amazing result for the sport. UK Ball hockey hosting its first World Championship. They have grown so much and now they are hosting the World. This is a very important step and accomplishment that we hope adds to the tremendous work Ali Cree, Rob Clayton, Carl Wood and all the UK team now and past have done. Enjoy the World is coming to you for what promises to be "a cracking" World Juniors. It is a historical moment in Ball Hockey you have created.
The ISBHF is also proud to have two new ISBHF BOD members from Asia. Both Colin and Gabi will add a presence that will assist us in continuing to build a important framework of cooperation with these key nations. As such our ISBHF Board member Roman Torok will be attending the prestigious Mekong Cup to continue this key networking. And also with a eye to prepare the Asian championships in Hong Kong in November 2016.
We also had the CBHA and Canadian President Shelley Callaghan outline the Banff Masters which will house 10 Men's teams and 6 Women's in Beautiful Banff, Alberta. This event with the beauty of the Rocky Mountains in the backdrop and its two state of the art arenas will provide a wonderful platform the for the players to enjoy. Falling into the same sphere as Sheffield as a great venue for players sticking with the ISBHF formula for excellent events for you to enjoy. With the co-operation of the CBHA and the proud Provincial association of Alberta Wild Rose. These players coming from Europe, Canada and the USA and abroad will get a rousing Western Canada welcome.
I would also like to congratulate the ISBHF Male player of the year. Stanslav Petrik of Slovakia. I have seen Stanslav as a one time Coach competing against him always being aware of his great talents. And like the greatest goalies in hockey. His excellent efficiency of movement and immaculate positioning helped lead Slovakia to another World tittle. He continues to be involved in the game and still get better as a player. And we are proud to have him join the ranks of the greatest players winning this award.
Two Newfoundland players from Canada won key ISBHF recognition awards. Dawn Tulk who has scored some key important goals to assist Canada in winning Gold medals these last two events was selected as ISBHF Female player of the Year. Dawn is a very worthy recipient who like Petrik falls now into the pantheon of players who have won these prestigious awards.
Finally a award for spirit and determination. And remembering the great Robert Muller Memorial award. Who was a great player who represented Germany in ISBHF events as a very good forward, and Germany at IIHF events as a top goalie. He has left us many years ago but is not forgotten. The Muller memorial award was presented to Patrick O'Keefe of the CBHA who showed tremendous spirit and dedication to his country and team by attending the World's in Zug event even though just 2 weeks before he was ready to play on Canada. A medical condition made him lose the opportunity which would have made most be disappointed at there hardship. But Patty decided to attend and support his teammates. Showing the true heart those who know him know he has. The CBHA and Newfoundland Association should be very proud of these International awards for there players.
We also discussed Hielbronn, Germany which will have the largest amount of club teams coming to play in the ISBHF World Cup Clubs in ISBHF history. Once again using a amazing venue in which the Professional Ice Hockey team the Heilbronn Ice Hockey team uses as home. These players and teams coming from Finland, Canada, USA, United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic will provide a amazing backdrop to this beautiful arena and city. Players coming from 9 nations, 9 different styles, will converge in what will be a true historical event for us at the ISBHF. The deepest National involvement we have had at this World Championship.
We will also hopefully have a update on the Caribbean Cup in Grand Cayman very soon. This event was very successful in 2014 and we hope it will be again. What a backdrop with the white sands of 7 mile beach, combined with the air conditioned ball hockey facility at Kings. We hope this event goes off again in June of this year.
Following in these amazing facilities we are working on for the players of the World. For the players of the ISBHF family. Like Sheffield UK, Banff, Canada, Heilbron, Germany, Grand Cayman, and Hong Kong. We had a presentation of the 2017 ISBHF Men's and Women's World championship's in Pardubice, Czech Republic. This event will run from June 1 to June 11 in 2017 in two large Ice Hockey arenas in Pardubice. This will be a major event following in the high standard of tradition of the ISBHF.
More details will follow but needless to say we are all impressed with our visit to the city in 2015 for AGM, and are very excited with the many details of exposure and experiences the players and ISBHF family will enjoy in 2017. That are Czech family introduced to us.
We are all quite excited about all these events and the hard work we will do behind the scenes to make all these events wonderful experiences for the participants of the ISBHF family. Keeping in the tradition of excellence in our 20th Year of Existence as the leader in the World in our sport.
Until next time. Have a great season and enjoy our game.