BRATISLAVA – At the end of the tournament, we had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Hans Dobida, newly inducted IIHF Life Member, Council member from 1986 to 2008 and an IIHF Auditor. Dr. Hans Dobida has been the chairman of the 2008 IIHF InLine Hockey Tournament.
What do you think about inline hockey?
I know inline hockey very well. It is a useful opportunity to expand the season for the national associations in which ice hockey is very well developed. It is also a valuable tool for developing the critical mass in the national associations where ice hockey is still under-developed. Furthermore, it supports the IIHF vision to be a global organization.
How was the level of play in this world championship?
The level has been best-ever! Not only in the Top Division but also in the Division I, which is now closer to the Top Division than ever before. Everybody was waiting for the return of Team Canada to compare our current level to theirs. However, our current level seems to be very high since Canada didn’t automatically qualify for the Top Division. The improvement is due to the participation of NHL stars together with top ice hockey players from national leagues, good inline hockey players and the future generation. There are three NHL players playing for the Czech Republic, one for Sweden and one for Slovakia. The most surprising thing for me was that Ales Hemsky was driving to the arena with his Ferrari every day, but was still sharing a hotel room in a two-and-a-half star hotel, just like any other player in this tournament. In addition to this, they pay the National Hockey League insurance by themselves, which is obligatory in order for them to participate. This is only possible in inline hockey!
How do you envision the future for inline hockey?
Inline hockey has become very stable and has a lot more credibility. This is thanks to Mr. Walter Bush Jr. supported by the IIHF office. The 2008 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship in Bratislava has been one of the greatest successes for the IIHF and the inline hockey system. The 2009 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship will be played in Ingolstadt, Germany, from 6th to 13th June and the 2010 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship will be played in Karlstad, Sweden, from 28th June to 4th July. Many countries are stand-by to join the inline hockey family: Argentina, Belgium, China, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Korea, Liechtenstein, Namibia, Norway and South Africa. The Czech Republic has expressed strong interest for 2011 and Canada has made a similar type of enquiry.
Dr. Hans Dobida would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the organizing committee for their excellent work! The tournament has been a great success with high attendance numbers for the Slovak games (2000-3000 spectators) and will for sure benefit the Slovakian ice hockey federation in their preparations for the 2011 IIHF World Championship in ice hockey! We congratulate Sweden, the tournament winner, Slovakia, runner-up, and Germany for the bronze medals.