Facebook: by National Greek Ice Hockey Team on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 8:21am
The New Year reserved an unpleasant surprise for the players of Iptameni Athens. The schedule of the 2011 Greek Championship was announced and the Greek Champions were not on it. The reason was that the president and members of Iptameni decided to suspend operations of the club for financial reasons. This decision literally kept the 3 time back-to-back Greek Champions outside the Greek League.
The problems all started early on due to the financial difficulties that the club was facing that had a major impact on the players since they were asked to cover the high training costs at the Athens Heart ice rink since the players of Iptameni requested 2 and 3 practices a week in order to prepare for the World Championships as well, but the policy of the ice rink was “the more you want to practice, the more you have pay”, basically the National Team was treated like any other club in the Greek league, a position that was also incorporated by the federation with a letter sent to the players in early December. Unfortunately, the inability of the players to cope with the new economic reality of the federation, resulted in the cancellation of all Iptameni practices since mid-December. The board members of the club and the board members of the federation were not able to find a solution in order for the players of Iptameni, who are also members of the National Team, to continue practicing and therefore practices were halted. It seems that the Greek federation only cares about participation now and therefore the new national team will be comprised of those who can pay regardless of skill.
It is only logical that the decision to shut down the club closed the door of the 2011 National Team to these players since they have not trained for nearly 2,5 months and have not participated in any league games. The lack of preparation can only result in serious injury, something that no player of Iptameni Athens can sacrifice. Even if the players start practicing today, time is not enough to get ready, especially since Greece does not have a proper rink. We hope that the Federation puts the safety of athletes above all and will not ask these athletes, who have not practiced for 2,5 months and have not participated in any league game, to participate in the National Team and risk getting injured, as ice hockey as we all know, is a tough sport and dynamic sport.
Unfortunately the disappointing development does not allow the National Team to defend the silver medal won at the 2010 World Championship DivIIIA that was held in Luxembourg. We hope that the decision of the Federation to renew the National team, does not destroy the good work that has been done in recent years by the people in charge of the National Team, resulting in the silver medal and the movement in world rankings. The fact that the National Team practices have not started though, 1,5 months before the start of the World Championship, is a little alarming.
We only hope that the players of the new national team to do their duty and not disgrace their country, especially in these difficult economic times, and mainly in front of the Greek Diaspora of South Africa. It is essential of all those chosen by the Federation to give their very best in order to avoid embarrassment and to not link their names with the worst results in the history of the sport in Greece. Awaiting the names of the new and renewed National Team.
Good luck to the new and renewed National men's ice hockey team.