NOVI SAD, Serbia – The Serbian playoff final was cancelled after three games due to a fire in the locker-room of defending champion Vojvodina Novi Sad that destroyed the team’s equipment.
The incident happened on the morning of March 24 while a junior team was practicing. The team left the arena immediately and the damage was confined only to two locker-rooms.
Due to the lack of equipment, the series could not be continued and Partizan Belgrade, which led 2-1 after three games, was declared the champion. Partizan also won the regular season.
The damage will not effect the 2009 IIHF World Championship Division II Group A which starts tomorrow in Novi Sad. “Everything is under control. The teams and the chairman are satisfied,” said Djordje Ljoljic, General Secretary of the Serbian Ice Hockey Association. Enough locker-rooms remain for the teams from China, DPR Korea, Estonia, Iceland, Israel and Serbia.
However, the equipment of the Serbian national team was also destroyed in the fire. Most of it can be replaced with a shipment from Moscow. “But we are urgently looking for pads and gloves for our left-catching goalie,” Ljoljic said.
The other Division II group in Sofia, Bulgaria, began on Monday with the national teams from Belgium, Bulgaria, Korea, Mexico, Spain and South Africa.