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2006 FIRS WORLD INLINE HOCKEY

Inline Hockey
The same protagonists faced off again for Gold Medals in Detroit, Michigan at the XII FIRS World Inline Roller Hockey Championship as did so last year in Paris, France. This year the USA women prevailed over the Canadian champions, in the usual closely matched game. The USA Men again successfully defended their World Championship title for the fourth consecutive time.

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USA MEN AND WOMEN SWEEP 2006 FIRS WORLD INLINE HOCKEY

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN DETROIT



Reported by:

George Pickard

CIRILH President



The same protagonists faced off again for Gold Medals in Detroit, Michigan at the XII FIRS World Inline Roller Hockey Championship as did so last year in Paris, France. This year the USA women prevailed over the Canadian champions, in the usual closely matched game. The USA Men again successfully defended their World Championship title for the fourth consecutive time. The Taylor Sportsplex was the venue for this year’s competitions, located in the suburbs near Detroit Metropolitan Airport, along the route to Chicago. This facility was truly outstanding, and consisted of four full sized roller hockey rinks under a single roof, radiating out from a central service area which included restaurant, pro-shop and medical center. In the autumn and winter, the two rinks in use for the World Championships will revert again to ice hockey. Without any doubt, the Taylor Sportsplex was itself world-class.



Prior to the start of practice for the World Championships on July 15, 2006, the main rink was dedicated to the finals of the Pro-Circuit TORHS National Championships, an event in which $60,000 was awarded to the two finalist teams in the senior division. The two other rinks were in use during and after the World Championships, in support of the AAU and USARS National Inline Hockey Championships, as well as several World Cup competitions sanctioned by CIRILH for age division inline hockey. The facility was a beehive of activity during the time of the World Championships, with more than 500 teams participating. The AAU sponsored the FIRS World Championships and did not charge admission to the games. As a result, the final competitions World Championship medals for both men and women were attended by standing-room-only spectators.



Women’s World Championship

The defending champion Canadian women again faced their traditional inline hockey rivals, Team USA, to decide possession of the Gold and Silver Medals for this year. The powerful Canadian team included Olympic Ice Hockey Gold Medal winners: Isabelle Chartrand, Cherie Piper and Meghan Agosta, as well as several others that play professional women’s ice hockey during the winter months. Also returned was Canada’s premier goalie, Keely Brown, who has backstopped the team for two of their previous Inline Hockey World Championships, never giving up a single goal.



No score was achieved by either team halfway through the first period, with the Canadians forcing the puck mostly into the USA zone. The USA women fought back with spirit, including a tremendous performance by USA goalie Brittany Martin. Then Kathleen Savino #17 broke the ice for the USA by scoring the first goal of the game, assisted by Antoinette Maldonado #22. In doing so, she put an end to Keely Brown’s longstanding world championship goal drought. Such audacity by Savino apparently aroused the Canadians, for in less than a minute, during the next shift, Canada shot in an answering goal by Coley Dosser #19, which was assisted by Meghan Agosta #61. The half ended with the score tied at 1 -1.



When asked what his 2006 game strategy would in facing such a formidable rival as Canada, which was strongly reinforced with Olympic ice hockey heroines, USA Women Coach Jeff Prime said that he told his team to stay relaxed and go out and enjoy their game against a great team that no one was expecting them to beat. He told his players that there was no reason to tense up over fear of failure to live up to expectations, and that they should stay loose and each person play their own game. Jeff denied making any impassioned locker room speech in the grand tradition of American football. From the outcome, perhaps Jeff Prime unknowingly did so anyway.



The second half struggle began much the same as the first, when Lauren McAuliffe #23, on a power play, put a second USA puck past the Canadian goalie, adding insult to injury, with 6:32 remaining in the game. She was assisted by Joy Garvey # 26. From that point on, catch up action boiled to a frenzy from the Canadian bench, but to no avail. Brittany Martin repulsed all further attempts to penetrate the USA goal, and despite the Canadians pulling their goalie in the last minute of play to favor loading the offense, she held on and the game concluded with a 2 - 1 USA victory over Canada. When the buzzer sounded, the melee began, provoked by a disappointed Canadian team, this appears to be local ritual upon losing a game. A player from USA and a player from Canada were identified by the referees as having refused to stop punching when directed to do so, and given a Match Penalty and a year suspension in accordance with the earlier disseminated rules enacted as a result of another USA/Canada fight occurring during the Canadian men’s loss at the 2005 World Games in Germany. The CIRILH Committee sustained the penalty, determined to rid itself of this type of hooliganism within FIRS inline hockey.



In a better display of sportsmanship, the French mademoiselles engaged the women from the Czech Republic in a spirited contest for the Bronze Medal at the 2006 World Championships. There was a certain proprietary claim to this award for both teams, which the French won last year in Paris, taking this over from the Czechs that had achieved the Bronze Medal in the preceding two years in the Czech Republic and again in Canada. The contest was most competitive, characterized by excellent skating skills and good stick control from both teams. It concluded with a repeat victory for France 6 to 3, successfully defending their claim for the Bronze Medal.



2006 WOMEN’S FIRS WORLD INLINE HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP PLACEMENT BY TEAM:

1. Gold Medal – United States of America

2. Silver Medal – Canada

3. Bronze Medal – France

4. Czech Republic

5. Great Britain

6. Japan

7. Mexico

THE WOMEN’S FIRS NATIONAL TEAM WORLD INLINE HOCKEY CUP



There are now 34 national federations in FIRS that conduct inline hockey national championships, utilizing playing rules much the same as advocated for the world championship. Yet the most teams that have ever taken part in a single FIRS world inline championship is yet to exceed 16 countries. Over the 12 year history of the FIRS world inline hockey championship, 28 different nations have participated. Some try it and find they can not compete against the best teams. A new format for seeding teams was tried this year, offering developing teams a greater incentive to return.. The highest skilled teams have now been separated in the round-robin from the less proficient teams, still maintaining every entering team a direct path toward earning a world championship gold medal, whether they are positioned Group l or Group 2 based upon their placements in the previous World Championship. The top 8 teams have demonstrated their ability to compete successfully for the Gold Medal. These teams are placed in Group 1 with 6 teams qualifying after the round robin to continue toward gold medal play. The top finishing team in Pool C and Pool D of Group 2 exchange places with the lowest placements in Pool A and B of Group 1, thus providing every team that enters the World

Championship access to the gold medal based upon performance. After pool play, the contest is basically split into two separate events: 1) The FIRS World Inline Hockey Championship and 2) FIRS National Team World Cup for Inline Hockey.” The medals awarded are different and the word “champion” is not associated with the Cup. While this new formula is designed for the more numerous men’s teams, the same principal is applied to women’s teams to encourage more participants as well.



In 2006 World Championships, because of less than anticipated teams, the 3 losing women’s teams after the Quarter Final competition, went on to play for National Teams World Cup, which became a round-robin, with no ties permitted. Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were rewarded for the World Cup and these three teams are also recorded as placing 5 – 6 – 7 in the 2006 FIRS Women’s World Inline Hockey Championships:



2006 WOMEN’S FIRS NATIONAL INLINE HOCKEY TEAM WORLD CUP AWARDS:

1. Gold Medal – Great Britain

2. Silver Medal – Japan

3. Bronze Medal – Mexico



2006 MEN’S WORLD INLINE HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIPS July 17 – 19, 2006

The roster of men’s teams that registered for the 2006 Men’s World Championship consisted of 13 national teams from the following FIRS Federations: Group I – USA, Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, Spain, Canada and Germany. Group II – Britain, Korea, Mexico, Japan, Colombia and Romania. Two pools for round-robin were formed from each group. After pool play, from Group I: USA, Switzerland, Spain, Czech Republic, Canada and France remained in the World Championship medal round for the Quarter-Finals, with Germany entering Group II and Japan and Mexico joined Group I for an 8 team Quarter-Final.





Men’s World Championship Quarter Finals – Thursday, July 20, 2006

Canada overwhelmed Spain by a score of 14 to 0. Switzerland faced France, with Switzerland coasting to 5 to 1 victory. The Czechs won their game against Japan by a margin of 12 to 3. USA played Mexico and the final score in this game was 15 to 3 in favor of USA. No real challenges at this phase of the competition, with Canada, Czechs, Switzerland and USA advancing to the Semi-Final. Spain, France, Japan and Mexico will now engage in placement games to establish 5 through 8 team positions in the World Championships.



Men’s Semi Final Competition – Friday, July 21, 2006

Canada vs USA - The first of the two match-ups was between Canada and USA. The Yanks jumped out to a 3 – 0 lead during the first 10 minutes of the first period with two goals by C. J. Yoder #9, assisted by Mike Ciolli #27 and Ziggy Marszalek #28 and then another goal scored by Ziggy Marszalek, assisted by Ciolli, all of whom are long term veterans of Team USA. Dave Hammond #61 popped a goal for Canada, assisted by Paul Szczechura #27, bringing the tally to 3-1 with 10:03 remaining in the first period. Whereupon C. J. made it a hat trick, 30 seconds later, with an assist by Brian Yingling #8, advancing the USA lead to 4-1. Mishka Drury #55 soon added a goal to the Canadian side of the ledger and in the closing seconds of the first period, Dave Hammond scored again, making the half-time result a closer 4 to 3, still with USA in the lead.



The second period was underway less than a minute when Eric Weichselbaumer #25, another veteran USA player scored an unassisted goal bringing the lead for USA to 5-3. Canadian Chad Seibel #74, with an assist by Paul Szczechura, narrowed the USA lead again to 5 – 4, with 18:30 on the clock. That was all the scoring in the second half until 6:41 when C. J. Yoder scored his 4th goal of the game, with an assist by Dan Costanza #14. The USA played out the clock and the game ended with a USA victory 6 to 4. Both teams enjoyed the services of excellent goal tending by Canadian Brett Leggat and USA Rob Laurie, as there were plenty of challenges from hard shots on goal that would not have been deflected by lesser goal attendants.



Switzerland vs Czech Republic – Two minutes into the game, the Swiss jumped out to the lead with an unassisted goal by Remo Hirt #7. Czech David Balasz #12 tied it up at 5:15 remaining in the first period, with an assist by Jiri Osina #2. With seconds remaining on the clock near the end of the first period, the Swiss went back into the lead 2-1 with a goal by Diego Schwarzenbach #9, assisted by Rolf Schrepfer # 6. Starting the second period, the next three goals were scored by the Czechs, two goals by Martin Vozdecky #29 and one goal by Martin Tvrznik #22, with assists given by Tvrznik, Balasz and Ondrej Vesely #27. With 7 minutes remaining in the game, the Czechs were now in the lead 4 to 2. Pascal Stoller #8 scored for Switzerland, with less than 5 minutes remaining on the clock, but then the Swiss were shut down and the game ended in favor of the Czechs 4 to 3. For the second consecutive year, USA and the Czech Republic will play for the Gold and Silver World Championship Medals. As losers in the Semi-Final Canada and Switzerland will duel to determine who takes home the Bronze medal.



Men’s Bronze Medal Game for World Championship – Saturday, July 22, 2006

Canada vs Switzerland – The Swiss jumped off to an early lead with a goal by Roland Stahli #12 at 6:18 into the first period, assisted by Remo Hirt #7. Canada answered with three goals in the first period by Shawn Mather #18, unassisted; another by Derek Hahn #47, assisted by Kirk French #96 and again by Mather; assisted by Mishka Drury #55. The Canadians took a 3 – 1 lead into the dressing room at half-time. The Team Canada expanded its lead to 5 to 1 early in the second period with two goals one minute apart by Rafie Protopapas #24, and by Dave Hammond #61. Both assists were by Paul Szczechura #27. A desperate Swiss team fought back with a goal by Pascal Stoller #8, assisted by Walter Gerber #14. Canadian Dave Hammond answered this with his second goal, assisted by Chad Seibel #74. The score was 6-2 favor Canada. The Swiss team did not give up and scored two more goals late in the second period by Stefam Grogg # 18, assisted by Rolf Schrepfer #6 and a goal by Patrick Rothen #15, assisted by Stoller. The Swiss could do no more, and earned a series of penalties assigned in the final minute of the game as result of their demonstrations of frustration. Team Canada wins the Bronze Medal for the 2006 World Championship by a score in their favor 6 to 4.



Men’s Gold and Silver Medal Game – Saturday, July 22, 2006

USA vs Czech Republic – This was the second consecutive year that these two teams faced each other for the World Championship Gold Medal. Both teams are familiar with the pressures of a World Championship match and played with enthusiasm and great skill. The USA dominated the first period with three goals, while stellar world champion goalie Rob Laurie denied the Czechs access to the USA goal cage. Ziggy Marszalek #28 scored first for the USA, assisted by Mike Ciolli #27. USA rookie Itan Chavira #13 made the next goal, assisted by his brother Juaquin Chavira #78. This led to the comment in the VIP lounge, “The Americans are not doing well enough, that they now have to import Mexican players?” Both Chavira brothers were “Born in the USA.” The third goal was scored by C. J. Yoder #9, assisted by Marszalek. The USA took a 3-0 lead into the dressing room.



There was no scoring during the first half of the second period, with both goalies stoutly defending their cages. Czech player #3 Pavel Zavrtalek, assisted by Ondrej Vesely #27, broke the ice for their country with Pavel’s first of two goals at 11 minutes into the second period, score 3 – 1. Then the old master C. J. Yoder, within seconds, answered this goal with his second of the game, assisted this time by his brother Jami Yoder #5. It might be said that nepotism reigns on the American team. The score now is 4 – 1 in favor of USA. The Czechs will score again in the final two minutes of the game with a second goal by Pavel Zavrtalek, assisted again by Vesely. The game ended with a victory by USA 4 to 2 over the Czech Republic. The USA retains its World Championship and earns another Gold Medal. The Czech Republic wins the Silver Medal.



2006 MEN’S FIRS WORLD INLINE HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP

PLACEMENT BY TEAM:

1. Gold Medal –United States of America

2. Silver Medal – Czech Republic

3. Bronze Medal – Canada

4. Switzerland

5. France

6. Spain

7. Japan

8. Mexico

9. Colombia

10. Germany

11. Great Britain

12. Romania

13. Korea



MEN’S FIRST FIRS NATIONAL TEAM WORLD INLINE HOCKEY CUP

The teams remaining in Group 2, after advancement of Pool C & D winners to the World Championship medal play, were joined by Team Germany, being dropped from Group l. Germany, being the top seed was given a bye as the other four teams were matched in the Quarter Final, paired according to their pool placements. The two winning teams from the Quarter Finals were then joined by Germany to play round-robin matches (no ties – two games each team) for the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals in the National Team World Cup. These medal winning teams will listed as placements 9 – 10 – 11 in the 2006 World Championship, in addition to being medalists of the National Team World Cup. Colombia and Great Britain men emerged as victors of the Quarter Final and joined with Germany for this new international competition. This was to prove to be an extremely well matched contest.



The round robin for the Team Cup led off with Germany facing Great Britain. The Brits prevailed 5 to 3. Later that evening, the second game was played, which was between Germany and Colombia, and this time Germany was the winner 4 to 2. The third and final game was played the next day at noon with Great Britain competing against Colombia. Colombia adjusted their sights and found the range of the goal cage and fired off a victory salvo 6 to 2. Each team had won one game and lost one, as the competition ended. They were tied in points for a three-way tie. The accountants rolled out their tie breaker rules. Head to head, did not apply as a tie breaker in this three-way situation, so they proceeded to next tie breaker, least goals scored against. Colombia had a total of 6 goals against in the round robin, Germany had a total of 7 and Great Britain had an accumulation of 9 goals against.




2006 MEN’S FIRS NATIONAL INLINE HOCKEY

TEAM WORLD CUP AWARDS:

1. Gold Medal –Colombia

2. Silver Medal – Germany

3. Bronze Medal – Great Britain