From June 21 to 27, Laval will host the 2022 World Ball Hockey Championships at Place Bell.
A total of 23 teams from 17 countries will compete in the men’s A and B categories, as well as in the women’s tier. This represents more than 500 athletes from all over the world.
“We can’t wait to get going, especially since the tournament was canceled last year because of the pandemic,” said Tony Iannito, president of Hockey-Ball Quebec. On a completely redone Olympic ice. We installed a surface and bands to hold all our matches.
Laval was selected to host the event in two stages. Despite a good bid, the organization of the tournament was first awarded to the city of Brandon, Manitoba.
The latter, however, had to withdraw due to an inability to hold the tournament which was linked to new restrictions.
The International Ball Hockey Federation (ISBHF) and Ball Hockey Canada have thus turned to Île Jésus.
“We have already held several events for young people with the Montreal Canadiens,” continues Mr. Iannito, considering the involvement of the City of Laval. The Rocket is here and there is a lot of movement in the area. Everyone in the region knows Place Bell, so for us it was a logical choice.
win at home
During the tournament, the players of the Canadian men’s team will want to end the reign of Slovakia, which has won the last four world championships in ball hockey.
“When I started in 1996, Slovakia had a good team, but some elements were missing,” explains the president of Hockey-Balle Québec. They made up for it by accepting a very good structure in which their government is involved. They are strong and will try to create a record five consecutive championships.
Jean-Philippe Moquin is one of the players on the Canadian team. Playing organized ball hockey since the age of 17, this is his first opportunity with the Maple Leaf. He ensures that all team members receive nothing less than the gold medal.
“We are motivated as it can not be, he says. Our captain shares motivational videos with us every day. We are all dropped in there. Everyone trained to get in shape. We will do everything to try to win the tournament.
He also believes that the crowd will have a considerable impact on their performances.
“I went to see the facilities, adds Moquin. The surface and the benches are glued to the platforms. For the opposing teams, it will be difficult to stay in the Game. In Quebec, we are known for making a lot of noise and moving air, so I think that for that, it will be ideal.
Canada’s women’s team is the favorite in its category.
“I don’t see which team could take them out, but there are always teams that can create a surprise,” said Mr. Iannito. We saw it in men at the last World Championships when Finland reached the final. There are good teams, but it should be our Canadians.
Although this competition has been around since 1996, ball hockey has grown significantly over the past 10 years. A professional league has been created in Quebec and more and more countries are taking part in international competitions.
“I often speak with the oldest who explain to me that they played in gymnasiums with improvised leagues 10 years ago, notes Jean-Philippe Moquin. Some have put in large sums of money to have this sport assessed. We see that it is developing and that it brings together a lot of people.
For his part, the president of Hockey-Ball Québec says he is satisfied with the progress made, but believes that there is still a lot to do to solidify the provincial structure.
“We were recently sanctioned by Hockey Quebec, he describes. We want to bring everyone together, but it takes time. Jocelyne Thibault [président de Hockey Québec] is very proactive and pushes for an improvement in the structure. Quebec wins a lot of gold medals at the national level and we must continue like this.