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World Inline Hockey Championships... Is it Worth Mentioning?

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Well, I'm going to at least mention that there is a hockey-ish international tournament going on right now in Karlstad, Sweden (in the home rink of the Färjestads BK of the Elitseren). It's the Inline Hockey World Championships, and it's sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation. Inline Hockey is the reason there are South American members of the IIHF... Brazil, Argentina and Chile have no recorded ice hockey international games that I'm aware of, but they are associate members of the IIHF because they do have inline clubs, and the IIHF decided to take control of that discipline of hockey as well.

The IIHF Inline Hockey World Championships is interesting in the sense that it takes care of both the top division and the lower Division 1 level at the same time... and teams can move about from one division to the other after the qualification round is over. So it has a unique format that I think would work really well at the ice hockey IIHF tournaments, but to be honest I know nothing of the world of inline hockey and can't really comment on whether this format works for the discipline or not. All I know about inline hockey is this: it's four quarters rather than three periods, and some ice hockey players use it as summer training. Apparently Swedish forward Dick Axelsson, a Detroit Red Wings prospect, is good enough at Inline to play for Sweden, and is actually the tournament leader in points. Sweden is currently in the semifinals, and Rickard Wallin also appears to be a prominent member of their team.

The semifinal matchups look like a typical IIHF semifinal group: Canada vs. USA, and Sweden vs. Czech Republic. Slovakia, Finland, Germany and Slovenia were knocked out in the quarterfinals. It's a bit different hockey world, as Russia doesn't have a team even in Division 1, and Canada is ranked 7th in the world. The junior level is a bit more interesting: the FIRS Jr. Men Championships had teams from Colombia, Namibia and Mexico. Colombia isn't a member of the IIHF at all, so until that happens they can't send a team to the IIHF Championships.

I have no idea if this can ever be a stepping stone to developing the kind of hockey that involves a puck and ice in these countries, or if the IIHF's involvement in the sport is a good thing or not, so I don't know if it's worth my time to be mentioning the tournament's proceedings. But hey, it's out there, and now you know about it. Should Puck Worlds bother with it at all in the future?

For results of the Championships, visit the IIHF's home page.