President's note

September 8. 2018

2018 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 

 

For decades our sport was lacking one of the greatest hockey partners in the world, Russia. The 2017 WC featured the first Russian team (5vs5) at an international competition since 1996, which was at that time nothing more than a collection of old-timers engaging in some fun. The new version, 21 years later, was a young, fit and eager full squad that wen on to capture the gold medal in the B-Pool.

  

2018 was the coming of age of Russian ball hockey, hosting its first international event in the sport. In a town just outside of Moscow, days before the World Cup of Football, history was in the making. As expected, the men’s team was much improved and provided flashes of what is to come for this nation. The real surprise came from the Russian women’s team that stunned the ball hockey world with their shoot-out win in the gold medal final. The men’s final was captured by the Czech Republic in a thrilling match over Canada.

 

In the picturesque town of Nitra, Slovakia, the headline story of the World Juniors was the addition of U20-Girls and U14-Boys divisions for the 2018 event. The expansion was well received by the participating athletes and the calibre of play merits permanent inclusion in future years. Several other interesting stories emerged with a Swedish based team competing for the first time at a WJC, albeit with some local player assistance, as well as the continued participation of Hungary in multiple levels, proving the game is taking hold there. The biggest WJC news was the Slovak medal haul, which included gold in two age groups, in particular a spectacular overtime win in the U20-Boys over reigning champion Canada.

The Masters is rapidly evolving into a highly demanded annual event. Usti hosted a memorable championship that featured the home town Czech team capturing the gold medal. The momentum building in this age division has resulted in a 2019 commitment for a Masters WC in Canada. The true spirit of the sport lives in the young but grows ever larger in the Masters.

 

 

CHINA

After several years of effort, the WBHF has succeeded in partnering with an organization dedicated to bringing our sport to the masses through the China school system. September will bring the launch of an 18-school pilot project in Beijing, with hopes of expanding cross country in 2019. Program leader, Cindy Zheng, deserves a great deal of credit for her vision and ability to deliver on it. Through its Learn To Play program, the WBHF is committed to support these efforts, which have been openly adopted by the Chinese Winter Olympic Committee as an ideal approach to introduce hockey at the grassroots level. We can not only expect participation of Chinese teams at future WBHF championships, but also the very real likelihood of either an official Asian Continental Championship or a full blown World Championship in the near future.

 

INDIA

The official India Ball Hockey Federation has been newly registered with members of the India Olympic Association at the helm. Their attendance at upcoming WBHF events will mark the first time ever that India based teams will compete internationally.  With China, India and Russia, the WBHF now boasts the three most populated nations of Asia as the cornerstones of the Eastern hemisphere. What is critically important with each is the relationship with their respective national sports organizations, hockey and/or Olympic. It is this foundation that garners well for sustained growth of ball hockey in Asia.

 

 

EUROPEAN EXPANSION

The WBHF’s patient approach of working with key organizations in sport has helped build its global credibility. Choosing the right partners is vital to the strength of our federation. An upcoming new partnership will bring nation based members in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Norway and Sweden. More exciting news on this partnership will follow in October with the launch of plans for 2019.

26.June 2017

We must start with our appreciation of the tremendous work of Jiri Skrivanek and his staff for the
superbly organized hosting of the Lovosice and Litomerice sites. The day and evening long festival atmosphere around the main arena was well enjoyed by all on a daily basis.

We also must thank Simona Dzugasova of the WBHF for her tireless work leading up to the event and during it.

The 2017 WC marked a turning point in the rapid rise of the WBHF as the true voice of players around the world. Highlights included the enthusiastic showing of the Hungarian women, providing inspiration to aspiring female athletes in other nations.

The arrival of Russia is the largest strategic hockey partner that has been absent from the international scene of our sport. The Men’s B-Pool Gold medal win demonstrated their remarkable progress over the seven day period as they adapted their skills to ball hockey against some of the world’s best.

We now look forward to having the Russian women’s team participate at our next World Championship.

The overall strength of the Czech teams at every level loudly pronounced the coming of an important corner stone nation of the sport. Capturing silver in Men, Women and Masters, the world renowned Czechs did not disappoint and are certain to challenge for the foreseeable future at WBHF championships. Participants and spectators alike who viewed the events commented that these were the better Czech teams. Perhaps the best in 20 years, in my opinion.

One of the top ball hockey players in the world, Bobby Housser of the USA, stated that unquestionably the Czechs and Canadian teams he faced in the WBHF championships were the best of 2017.

All three finals were of outstanding caliber, drama and excitement. The Masters champion Czecho-slovakia required a late goal to avert overtime and claim Gold.

The Canadian women fell behind early and had trouble solving the Czech defence and goaltending for a long stretch of the game, however their steady persistence eventually grinded out a 4-1 win, for a third consecutive gold medal.

The Canadian men, who had used their speed to dominate all tournament long, instead played cautiously against a potent Czech offence. This approach kept the Canadians close but trailing through the entire match until the final few minutes when they turned up the tempo and scored two quick goals to reclaim gold.

Congratulations go out to all of the teams who participated.

The emergence of stronger European nations competing in the WBHF WC were only part of the maturation of this 5-year old world federation. The WBHF’s clear path has been defined to lead the way in international competitions. In addition to this third 5vs5 WC, the WBHF has also held two 3vs3 and will launch the first ever 4vs4 WC in 2019.

Domenic DiGironimo
WBHF President

 


27.september 2016

The WBHF prides itself in being at the leading edge of our sport. The 3vs3 World Championship format is a creation of the WBHF. After a successful inaugural event in Bratislava last year, this year we managed to top that with a spectacular WC hosted in Montreal with the Coupe Burrows organization as our partners.

Firstly, we want to thank the organizers for staging a professional spectacle never seen before in our sport for the 3vs3 format. Simon, Patrick and staff, great job!

The wide range of participating nations speaks volumes about the growing interest in this format. It is fast, highly skilled and wildly entertaining.

Congratulations to the winning teams at the men, women and masters level, as well as to the other medalists. A special thank you goes out to the many athletes that traveled from overseas.

What I personally found to be most impressive is the skill level of the female athletes. I have had the pleasure of being a supporter of the women's game since 1983. Its progression has taken time, however, what I saw on the floor at the JC Perreault Complex blew my mind.

There is no doubt that the 3vs3 WC will soon be as popular as the 5vs5. Rest assured that the WBHF will continue to lead the way with innovation in our sport, bringing more nations to the game and more events to our international athletes.

 

 

4 December 2015

Congratulations to Canada, Slovakia and Russia for their Gold, Silver and Bronze wins respectively. Just as much congratulations must go out to Jaroslav Melisek, the venue and all the staff involved with this historic event. So many important firsts were established with this event. Not only was it the first WC for 4v4, commonly known as 3vs3 (plus goalie) in North America, but it also featured the most true European based nations in competition. The participation of Russia and Northern Ireland were highlights.

As always, the most significant events in our sport have had as its common element the tireless work of Jaroslav Melisek to make them happen. Just like his hosting of the first ever world championship of ball hockey in Bratislava in 1996, he was instrumental in the first ever for the smaller format and is also playing a key role in the China 2017 bid to create the first ever truly global championship. Jaroslav is a true pioneer of our sport. There is no one like him at the international level. We are fortunate to have him as a founder and leader of the WBHF.

To the players around the world who love this sport I encourage you to participate wherever and whenever you can. Do not let the small minded people involved in other organizations tell you differently. Humanity has come a long way from individuals being blocked or banned from participating in non-professional activities. The players only need to demand that their civil rights be respected and to not tolerate interference from those that try to block the growth and development of the sport.

Best wishes to all ball hockey aficionados around the world for happy holidays! 

 

 

20 April 2015

With the growth of the game's popularity around the globe it is inevitable that opinions will differ on how best to foster its development. These differences often result in ugly political battles that bring little value to the sport. It is our hope that decision makers focus on positive goals rather than on personal agendas. The players should always come first.

There are numerous organizations and federations in many countries. Some consider themselves rivals, while others prefer to stay completely away from the intrigue. Those that propagate untruths in an effort to advance their opinion or their organization do so because they lack the courage and self-confidence to focus on their own matters. Trying to bring down someone else just to pretend that you can elevate yourself in doing so is the surest way to expose your weakness and lack of credibility as a less than viable professional entity. There is truly something hollow in a person that spends their energy on such negative things.

The WBHF and its members avoid these types of conflicts. We see no value in them. We would rather encourage everyone in the sport to work together to grow its popularity and marketability. We want everyone to play. We want more children, women and men to play. That is why we provide championships not only in the large arena format but also in the 4v4 small arena format, which will occur later this year in Slovakia.

We are pleased that resolution was reached in Slovakia to respect the civil rights of players. Let us hope that more seek to find harmony and resolution to their discords.

Perhaps by 2017 the entire world of ball hockey, street hockey and dekhockey players will come together to celebrate the single greatest achievement in our sport in the 21st century, bringing the game in grand fashion to the Far East. The WBHF's initiatives for a WC 2017 in China is advancing well. These are the types of successes that can be achieved when we focus 100% of our energies on positive goals.

 

 

29 January 2015

As preparations heat up for our WC 2015, late-May, in Pittsburgh, USA, the excitement level builds within the world-wide ball hockey community. It seems very likely that by our February 15 deadline we will reach our 32 team maximum capacity for the Women's, Men's A & B and Masters Women & Men. The competition at each level will be a real joy to watch.

The WBHF was founded on the basic principles of fair play, integrity and a commitment to the development of the sport on a global level. We maintain these same principles for the national organizations we work with for world championships and we ensure that our competition eligibility regulations also encourage it.
 

Each of the organizations have a pathway to sport development in the country. The WBHF supports each in their efforts to develop programming for youth. We are pleased with the progress and in the months following the WC will have more news about this.
 

The WC2015 eligibility regulations are designed to encourage more participation by limiting male athletes to no more than one WC at any level in a 12-month period. What this means is that no male athlete can play at a Masters age WC and a Men's WC (A or B) within a 12-month period, regardless of which federation they may have competed in. This forces top athletes to hopefully compete at Men's A or B rather than at Master's level, which is not as physical or intense. It also provides opportunities to more players to enjoy being part of a WC. Whether this rule is applied in other federations is of no concern to the WBHF. We are a global federation with different ideas and we are proud of this fact.
 

This regulation does not apply to Women's divisions only because the overall female registration numbers, although growing rapidly, are still only a fraction of the male.
 

Hopefully, over time, top athletes will gravitate to the highest level of competition they are able to compete in, while respecting the right of other athletes to enjoy opportunities to play in the older classifications, which are more focused on celebrating the game by long-time players.
 

We wish all nations a successful preparation period leading up to WC 2015.

 


01 Janurary 2015

We welcome in the new year with the promise of the largest World Championship ever held. Pittsburgh 2015 will host upwards of 32 teams in total with expanded divisions in both men and women. The event will be a celebration of the sport and is attracting interest from major sponsors. Pittsburgh is a great city to visit, with plenty of good pubs, restaurants, important musuems, river front walkways, professional sports venues, shopping and much more. It is a hidden gem of the US North-East. Our American partners, USDHF, are planning a week full of festivities for players, family and fans.

The year will also bring final negotiations for WC 2017, which will prove to be one of the most historic events in the history of our game. Through the excellent work of WBHF VP Jaroslav Melisek we are nearing the day that our sport finally hosts a true global championship that also includes the whole of Asia and Oceania. The WBHF was created for the sole purposes of advancing the development of the sport on a global level. Our Board Members are dedicated to this task.

 

We wish you all a joyous and fruitful new year.



12 August 2014

Our sport has lost one of its all-time great wingers, Robert Mentis of Brampton Midnight Express (Canada).  Sadly, he passed away during a game at the old-timers provincial championship in London, Ontario.  Even in his 50's he loved the sport and was considered a spectacular offensive threat.  He is best remembered for his explosive speed off the wing and his laser-like shot.  Bobby was one of the most decorated Canadian athletes ever, with numerous gold medals from provincial, national and international championships as well as a multitude of individual awards, both all-star and MVP's.  I will always remember him as the teenaged boy I would pick up with his younger brother Chicky to travel with my team to some ball hockey tournament where he would amaze, as usual.  If there is ball hockey in the after life, some team just got a whole lot better.



29 June 2014

Jun-28-14 - Budapest: As much as I would rather focus only on the positives in the sport, such as Hungary hosting an international junior championship for the first time or India participating at U20, I find myslef needing to respond to the ridiculous social media comments about the WBHF and our WJC. Typically I do not engage in social media responses because it is a forum used mainly by the misinformed who lack the courage to engage in meaningful conversation to discover the truth.

For the record, the WBHF declared its WJC dates long before the ISBHF. There was no effort on our part to compete on the same dates, rather the other way around. It is a little known fact that I travelled to Europe late last fall to meet with some European leaders affiliated to the ISBHF to open dialogue between our organizations. I truly believe that we all have important roles to play in the development of our sport. Myself, Jaroslav Melisek and Chris Housser were the three most influential people in the development of the international growth of the game. Without our efforts there would be no ISBHF or certainly one without 90% of their members, which we recruited.

The decision to leave the ISBHF and form the WBHF was based mainly on a difference of opinion on leadership vision. The ISBHF prefers to allow the strong nations to have more power and take advantage of those still in early development. The ISBHF constitution is set up that way and their track record reveals this. The WBHF is founded on the basic principle that all nations have equal right and equal importance.

Getting back to the 2014 WJC, in December we invited the ISBHF to work together to host one big event matching best on best. They declined. I have to wonder why. Is it that their European members would rather not face the best Canadian and American national teams or to avoid the talent India would put on the floor against them. Or perhaps ASHI and CBHA would rather not be embarrassed by the USDHF and NBHAC superior national teams. Whatever their reasons it shows a lack of commitment to find common ground in growing the sport and I dare say a serious lack of courage.

The ISBHF has no official recognition by any international sport or games governing body, regardless what the mindless facebook and twitter bloggers say. If anyone knows that, it is me. After all, it is I who worked directly with IIHF to promote our game as a development tool. The IIHF has been very kind to provide resource materials to improve development support. It is largely inappropriate to use the IIHF name as a way to raise the profile of the ISBHF. The last dozen times I read the IIHF newsletter, which I regularly receive, there has never been a mention of the ISBHF or any of its events. Not because our sport is not worthy of praise, but rather because there is no official affiliation.

The real shame in all of this is that athletes are being hurt and prevented to enjoy international opportunities in the sport. Case in point, both the ISBHF versions of national governing bodies for Czech Republic and Slovakia issued threats against players if they attended the WBHF WJC. In a true act of abuse of civil rights there are several people who will be forced to explain to government authorities why they feel they have the ability to prevent people from playing an amatuer sport. It is the sole reason why a set of U18 Czech jerseys remain empty in Budapest and why many top players from Slovakia are at home instead of assisting their couragious borthers in Budapest. We will press this issue within those nations. The WBHF supports the players, first and foremost, something others should be more mindful of.

So I say here, in this blog, that all of us are equally responsible for the future of the sport and I challenge everyone to act in such a manner. I offer congratulations to the hosts in both Budapest and Bratislava and all of the athletes who compete at both WJC events. After all, is it not really about the players and not the politics.

 

26 May 2014

I do apologize for the lack of updates. We have been focusing our energies on development projects. I am pleased to announce that our Junior event this year, June 26-29, will bring for the first time a World Championship of ball hockey to Hungary.

The WBHF is focused on developing the sport through positive relationships. We resist the temptations to react to those who choose only to pollute the sport.

The WBHF was formed and built on the foundation of the strongest people and organizations in the sport. With the biggest and strongest national federations of both Canada and USA, the original founders of the India, Italy, Pakistan and Slovakia federations, as well as the most influential developers of the sport at the international level for the past 25 years all part of the WBHF, our future is bright and strong.

Our latest news features some of the biggest developments in the game.

The WBHF and their members share several important characteristics: proven history of development, love of the sport above politics and unwavering integrity.

The 2013 World Championships in Toronto proved without doubt that the majority of the best players in the world complete in the WBHF. The competition in both the Men and Women's divisions was unparalleled.

We encourage like-minded individuals around the globe to join our forces as we prepare for ground breaking World Championships in 2015 and 2017.



09 October 2012

The WBHF is alive and well through its early founding period.  Having earlier announced the world championship for 3+1 ball hockey in Bratislava, Slovakia in November 2013, the details for the 5+1 WC has been recently circulated to participating nations.  The WBHF 2013 World Ball Hockey Championships is officially announced as taking place June 4 to 9 with the cosmopolitan city of Toronto, Canada the backdrop for this historic event.  As many as 20 nations are expected to participate, some with entries in both the men’s and women’s divisions, staging the largest gathering in the sport’s history with some 800+ players and team staff competing.

The Men’s A-Pool already boasts the strongest field of teams ever assembled for an international event.  Top athletes representing Canada, Czech Republic, India, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, USA and the West Indies are confirmed and await as many as two more entries.

The Men’s B/C-Pool is expected to also feature as many as 10 competing nations, such as China, Croatia, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, and Spain among others whose applications are pending and/or being vetted.  After round-robin play, this pool will play out with the top clubs vying for the B-Pool title and the balance competing in the C-Pool medal games.

The Women’s event is also building up with competitive squads representing Canada, Great Britain, India, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, and USA, with more to follow.  The ladies’ championship will play down into two separate pools with the top nations chasing the A-Pool Gold and the remainder challenging in the B-Pool.

Billed as a senior event, the athletes are predominantly aged 18 to 35 years old with a sprinkling of exceptional younger players.  This showcase of the sport in one of the largest hotbeds of ball hockey will attract large crowds and much media attention.  Major sponsors will include international sports brand GIVOVA that has graciously extended an outstanding sponsorship apparel package.

More news on both WC events will follow as entries from national teams are confirmed and approved.

Plans are under way for several other major events in 2013 with continental championships, dekhockey international competitions and a Masters Cup.

Keep reading and more importantly keep playing!




17 August 2012

The world of ball hockey, street hockey, dekhockey is ever evolving. I am very excited to be part of a new global initiative that has been launched as the World Ball Hockey Federation. We used the term "ball hockey" in our name because it more accurately describes the many forms of the sport, the commonality throughout is the we use a ball, play with hockey sticks and a variation of hockey rules.

Everyone involved, far beyond just those listed as current Board members, are united in the pursuit of growing the sport. Our vast network of experienced sport and event organizers provide expert development guidance, valuable resource materials at no cost and important contacts for suppliers, manufacturers and much more. These services will expand as our website construction is completed.

We plan an extensive list of tournaments around the world, celebrating each format commonly played. The WBHF recognizes that the sport has many forms and should be contested as each region requires, with integrity and fair competition at the forefront.

Check us out regularly. The changes will be fast. The news exciting. The opportunities to enjoy the sport will be many.

Keep playing!

Domenic