by National Greek Ice Hockey Team on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 8:06am
There have been talks during the past years between the members of the IIHF about changes in the World Championships structure that will ABSOLUTELY also affect the Greek National Team and Greek Ice hockey in general. These changes were absolutely known to the Hellenic Ice Sports federation and specifically the president and they should have been much better prepared to avoid the unpleasant situations that will certainly come as a result of the inaction of the Greek federation and its president to these IIHF changes.
The changes are:
1) As of 2013 any member country that will not have an Olympic sized rink will automatically be banned of any international competition. No more exceptions for any country, as it is currently the case for Greece. Therefore if no Olympic size ice rink will open prior to 2013, the National Teams of Greece will no longer be able to participate in International Events. The exception for Greece was primarily based on the continuous progress and improving results of the National team from 2008 to 2010. It is absolutely certain that with this year’s results; the IIHF’s decision will be re-evaluated resulting in possibly getting banned from next year’s 2012 event. This change is something that the federation’s president was well aware of since he was informed by the IIHF on several occasions.
2) If more than 46 teams are entered to participate in the World Championship Program, a certain number of excess teams will participate in a qualification tournament. The number of entries and geographic considerations will determine the formatting for the qualification system. Therefore the bottom 2 ranked teams from the preceding World Championship Division III (in the case of 2011, Greece and Mongolia) will compete (meaning they were relegated to the qualification round) with the nations who have qualified to participate in the qualifications. The two winning teams of the qualification tournament will be promoted to Division III and participate in the 2012 World Championships. The federation was also very aware of this change and was also reminded on NUMEROUS occasions by the former National Team players (2008-2010) that a 4th and above position in the South African World Championship would avoid this relegation, but a 5th and 6th place finish will take us to the qualification round. This is something that could have been avoided if the president had sent Greece’s best to represent us in the 2011 WC DivIII.
As everyone can understand the president’s decision to continue to insist on using a small rink instead of using his resources and time trying to find investors to open an Olympic sized rink, as well as the disastrous decision to send the team he sent to the 2011 Worlds, when everyone was telling him to re-evaluate this decision because that team would not perform well, has brought our sport in front of a brick wall.
IT NEEDS TO BE CLEAR TO EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THE GREEK HOCKEY COMMUNITY THAT THE 2011 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS AND THE FEDERATIONS ACTIONS HAVE CREATED SEVERE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE NATIONAL TEAM PROGRAM.
The clock is ticking for Greek Ice Hockey and if the necessary changes are not made very soon, our sport will cease to exist in Greece, as it did between 2000 and 2008.
The IIHF Congress that will be held in Slovakia between 12-15 May is PERHAPS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MEETINGS EVER TO THE future of Greek Ice Hockey. We are hopeful that things will go well for Greece, but unfortunately we are not optimistic of a good result.