Posts Tagged ‘ice hockey’

Planet Ice Leeds opens

Friday, January 31st, 2020 | News

Today is the big day: after years of delays, Planet Ice Leeds is finally opening. Nobody will welcome that more than Leeds Chiefs who started playing ice hockey in September but have had to play all of their games away due to not having a rink.

Ice hockey world championships 2019

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019 | Sport

I’m sure that in your house, like ours, May is all about the ice hockey world championships. It has been a superb year for both Britain and Finland.

Two years ago, Britain was in the third division. But, having won their division two years running, they found themselves in the top tier playing countries that actually play ice hockey. There are two groups of eight with the bottom from each being related and it was always going to be a struggle to stay up.

The initial scorelines were predictable: 3-1 to Germany, 8-0 to Canada, 9-0 to Denmark and 5-0 to Finland. The only people we seriously scored against were the US, who still beat us 5-3. It came down to the final game: Britain vs France. The loser was going down, and France had been in the top division for a while.

In the second period, France took a 3-0 lead. Surely it was all over? But then Dowd found the back of the net for Britain. And them Hammond. The third period started 3-2. Farmer brought us level in the third period and we went into overtime and then bang! Davies puts an overtime winner past France to keep us up.

Meanwhile, Finland easily made it through the group stage as usual. They came second, behind Canada, despite having beaten them, due to wobbles against Germany and the US. The route to the final was no easy path: there are four good ice hockey teams in the world and Finland had to beat them all.

It started with a 5-4 overtime win against Sweden in the quarterfinals. Next up: Russia, with the sole goal producing a 1-0 win for Finland. Finally, the final itself. Having beaten the 3rd and 2nd ranked teams in the world, they now had to take on the 1st.

Canada started well, taking a 1-0 lead in the first quarter. But Finland was not out: Anttila, who scored the winner against Russia in the semi-final, brought Finland level in the second period. Two minutes in period 3, he scored again! With five minutes to go, Pesonen scored to give Finland a 3-1 lead. Canada immediately pulled their goalie but it was no good. Finland took their third world championship!

Britain is doing really well at ice hockey right now

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018 | Sport

Britain, with its notoriously mild climate, is not a place that you often associated with ice hockey. And you would be right. We’re not great at ice hockey. Leeds doesn’t even have an ice hockey rink. But you might be surprised how well we’re doing.

We actually have a good pedigree at ice hockey. We’re one of only eight countries to have won the world championship, although it has been a while since of more recent, and indeed only, victory in 1936.

More recently, we’ve been out of the top division of world ice hockey. We haven’t been there since 1993, where we came up from the third division (confusing called 1B) in two successive years.

This changed last year when we went unbeaten, dominating famous hockey nations such as Japan and Netherlands.

Things looked a little tougher this year as we entered division 1A. But not so. We kicked off the tournament by beating Slovenia 3-1. We then took a 6-1 drubbing by Kazakhstan, before beating Poland 5-3 and Italy 4-3. Some of these teams are countries that actually care about ice hockey.

Going into the final game, it looked like three teams would end on equal points, and we would miss out on promotion being the third team. Hungary was winning 2-1. The campaign seemed to be all but over.

Then, with just 15 seconds to go, a nightmare for the hosts as Robert Farmer found the back of the net to bring things level.

After a tense overtime period, it fell down to a penalty shoot-out. Three fantastic saves by GB goalkeeper Ben Bowns left Hungary on the losing side of a 3-2 scoreline to skyrocket Britain to the top of the table.

Britain was going up!

Next year we’ll be playing in the championship division against the big four (Russia, Canada, Finland, Sweden) and many other excellent ice hockey teams from around the world. How will we do? Probably not too well. But at least we will be there: punching way above our weight.

Coverage in the UK

Say you did want to follow the ice hockey world championships. How would one do it?

Well, in the UK, the answer is you can’t. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) offers a free video stream of all the games. But the UK is blocked from this because Premier Sports owns the rights. But they don’t show the games. They don’t even show all of the championship games. It is most frustrating.

The best we get is to sit and watch the IIHF ticker.

No wonder nobody cares about ice hockey in the UK.

Who are the best national ice hockey teams?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 | Sport


The ice hockey world championships are currently taking place in Moscow. No prizes for guessing who the Worfolk household is supporting. Finland won gold in 2011, and took a silver in 2014, but failed to score any medal last year.

To predict our chances, I took the medal data from the past ten years and graphed it.


The competition has been going for almost a hundred years now. In comparison to the early days, it is a pretty open contest. In the first 26 years, Canada took gold in 18 of them. Great Britain also took a gold in 1936! From 1963 onwards, the Soviets were unbeatable. Until 1987, when Sweden took gold, the only other team to beat the Russians were Czechoslovakia: the Soviet Union took the other 18 golds.

Today, Russia remain the dominant force in ice hockey. In the past decade they have taken as many golds as their nearest rivals, Sweden and Canada, put together. They are far from unbeatable though. In three of those years, they failed to bring home a medal. Sad as I am to admit it, Sweden has the edge over Finland at the moment. Though a gold at this year’s event would put them clear ahead.

The “big five”: Russia, Sweden, Canada, Finland and Czech Republic win basically everything. This is a suprise to many people, who assume that because the United States’s NHL is the biggest ice hockey league in the world, their national team must be really good. But they’re not. Two bronzes, and a silver each for Slovakia and Switzerland are the only medals to go elsewhere.

2016 ice hockey world junior championship

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016 | News, Sport


We’re only a week into 2016 and there is already reason to celebrate. Earlier this week the world junior championship of ice hockey took place in Helsinki. The winners? Finland! Triumphing 4-3 over Russia in the final. To top all of that off, Sweden lost to the US in the play-off game as well.

Unfortunately ice hockey is not well covered in the UK. BBC Sport do have a section, but only if you go to All Sports, then A to Z, and then find Ice Hockey. Sky Sports require you to go to More Sports, then Filter, then Ice Hockey. Neither even mentioned the junior world champions when I checked. Similarly, to watch the adult world championships we had to buy Premier Sports for a month.

Finland’s victory in the juniors suggests they will continue to field a good team in the coming decade, and hopefully many more world championships to come.

Premier Sports review

Saturday, May 31st, 2014 | Reviews

Premier Sports is a television channel that nobody has ever heard of. It’s an add-on to Sky Sports, for an additional monthly fee. Which is really annoying because they have had, for the past two years, exclusive coverage of the Ice Hockey World Championship finals.

Luckily they have now added Premier Player, an online streaming version of the channel. It costs £9.99 per month. Sign up was painless and we were able to watch it straight away. You can use as many devices as you want, but you can only log in with one device at a time, so you need to make sure you actually sign out if you want to switch devices.

Quality was not great. There are only so much you can expect when you stream a web feed onto a 42″ TV. However, I get good results with Sky Go and iPlayer. The results from Premier Sports were noticeably not as good, especially with the graphics and semi-transparent overlays. However it did offer a continuous stream whereas the free HD stream of a Finland channel we found kept cutting out every 3-5 seconds.

Overall, I am fairly satisfied. It would be great to get a higher quality feed. In a decade or so I imagine we will look back and consider how crazy it was that we watched anything in this resolution. But it was watchable and the whole process was pain free.