Congratulations Team Canada – 2018 ISBHF Masters World Champions !!
On September 25th, 2018, 12 Teams from around the World were in Bermuda with the hopes of becoming the 2018 International Street and Ball Hockey Federation (ISBHF) 2018 Masters World Ball Hockey Champions.
There would be a new Champion guaranteed this year in the event that takes place every two years in different world locations, for the first time since 2014 the perennial Tournament Finalists, the Wolfpak Ball Hockey Club ‘AKA’ Wolfpak Canada who won the Silver Medal in 2014 in Tampa Bay, FL, USA and the current reigning Gold Medal World Championship Team from 2016 in Banff, AB, Canada would not be participating.
The tournament started out with 2 divisions of 6 Teams. In Group ‘A’ there was Italy, Czech Republic, USA, Canada (Team CBHA), Slovakia and the host Team Bermuda. In Group ‘B’ there was a second team from Canada (Halton Leafs), USA and Slovakia, Austria, Greece and for the first time ever at the Masters World Ball Hockey Championships Team Portugal who during the tournament won their first ever Masters World Championship game, Congratulations boys!!
Each group would play 5 round robin games with the top 4 teams advancing. It was a tournament based on skill and it was a war of attrition as well as the heat at rink level measured at times upwards of 40 degrees Celsius. The rain held off which was a pre-tournament concern, it was hot but a beautiful week of hockey in an outdoor environment much like the tournaments held in Barrie and St.Catharines for the Ballhockey.com World Outdoor Ball Hockey Championships.
After lots of exciting Round Robin play the seedings were set for the quarter final rounds with Canada (Halton Leafs) coming out of Group ‘A’ as division winners and Italy winning Group ‘B’ who in the round robin beat the eventual tournament champions from Canada (Team CBHA). After the quarters 4 teams remained. Italy would play the Canadian Ball Hockey Association team in a rematch from the Round Robin and the second Canadian team would play Team USA. Both games were intense but when the buzzer went after period 3, only two teams remained and were heading for the finals - Team CBHA from Canada and the second team from Canada the Halton Leafs.
Sunday, September 30th at 3:30 Bermuda Time, the Orange Ball drops and its game on to become World Champions. After a scoreless first period the CBHA opens it up in the second and go on to a decisive victory. Despite a great effort by the Halton Leafs on this day the CBHA where just too powerful of an opponent and win over there fellow country men from Canada.
After the tournament we thought we would reach out to Wolfpak GM Robert Gladstone, who also helped coach the 2016 World Championship team in Banff along side Head Coach Alex Bovoletis (Alex will be on the coaching staff for the 2019 CBHA Team at the Men’s Open ISBHF World Championships in Slovakia) on his view of the tournament and the passing of the World Championship Torch.
Robert said he would be happy to talk. He said he loved watching as many games as possible being streamed online, he said the organizers put on a great tournament and said he is currently personally enjoying just being a fan of the game for now and very happy for everyone who is playing at this years event and was excited to see what team the Masters World Championship Torch would be handed off to. He thought the CBHA was a very well deserved winner as they played solid throughout the entire Tournament and fended off a very strong Italy Team in the Semi’s and congratulated the CBHA GM Francois Chalut, Head Coach Doug McCarthy and all Staff and players on their victory.
When asked about the Wolfpak not being in Bermuda defending their championship Robert said “We have had an amazing run since 2013 winning everything we could - league, Provincial, National and World Champions at the Masters level and though the Wolfpak as a team were not in the tournament many of the players that have played with the Wolfpak in the past were in Bermuda …. a total of 16 players from the Wolfpak Canada 2016 Gold Medal & National Championship team participated in this years Bermuda event and all came home with medals.” I replied to him “WOW .. 16 players, 16 medals (Golds, Silvers and Bronzes)“… he replied “I am extremely proud of all the players and what they accomplished and happy for all participants from across the World that went to Bermuda”.
On behalf of everyone at Ballhockey.com we say congratulations to both teams for making the finals at a World Championship, this is no easy feat to accomplish.
Prior to the finals in the Bronze medal game, Italy paired off against the USA and after three periods Italy won handily and came away as 2018 ISBHF Masters World Championships Bronze Medalists matching there Bronze Medal they won in 2016 Banff, showing the consistency of being a top team and medal contender.
Overall it was an exciting tournament and well hosted by Bermuda who as well played very well and advanced from Round Robin play to the quarter finals.
Congratulations to all the Medal winners as well as all participants in the event as you are all winners. We look forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming Ballhockey.com tournaments as its always great to see those who continue to play the game we love so much.