Semi-Annual Congress in Tunisia – Day 1 (Part 2)

(Part 2)
“The future belongs to the young.”

Some of the other issues we went on to discuss in the reports were the Continental Cup, the Inline World Championships in Germany, Infront’s Partnership and continued plans to support the IIHF in spite of economic hardship, and then finally the approval of Mexico as host of the Division IIIB tournament, which of course there were no objections to. Mexico explained to the Congress that they are thrilled and ready to host, with their NHL-Sized rink in the lovely city of Monterrey.

After lunch break, we broke up into various smaller groups based on the 2010 World Championships, which would be chaired by an IIHF Council Member to ensure that all mandatory topics were covered. First up were the Men’s Senior Championships. We met with Greece, Luxembourg, and the United Arab Emirates. At this meeting, we learned of the unfortunate fact that due to the current political situation in Greece, they may not be able to host the Championships in Athens. Very recently, their government resigned and thus the financial support they had been promised is now unavailable unless Greece is able to have a successful election on October 4th. If the elections do not re-institute a ruling political party, they will not be able to host. This is disappointing as the Greek officials have done a lot of fantastic work and have a great tournament planned. The financial support is purely to finish the construction of the arena and of course, without ice, we have nothing. Thanks to Luxembourg, and also the UAE, who have both stepped up to the plate in the event we get the bad news from Greece, our Senior Men’s team will have a place to play their tournament as both countries have said they can host the tournament. This is a great relief to all the countries involved. However, everyone is of the general opinion that we would all love a week in beautiful and magnificent Athens! So, watch this space for updates in the very near future.

We then went on to talk about the tournament in specifics, such as whether or not there will be one or two days off and issues like insurance and hospitals. The Greek delegates have told us they will try to get confirmation from the hospitals that an efficient system will be set up so that in the unfortunate event that one of our (or another team’s) players have to go to the hospital, they will not be delayed/turned away. This of course means that our teams must be organized and fully up-to-date with all of our paperwork and have it with us at the tournament. Other issues we discussed are food, internet, bottled water and TV coverage. The Greek delegates have also said that the hotel is a Five Star one, and if we want to come early or stay late past the tournament dates, we will be allowed to avail of the low rate on the rooms the entire length of the stay. The Greek’s enthusiasm and commitment to host the tournament is clear and hopefully all goes their way on October 4th. In additions, the referee list was approved by all the teams.

After this meeting, we had a small break and then went to the U18s meeting. As said before, it is Mexico that is hosting the tournament and by the looks of it, they too have worked very hard to plan for a fantastic tournament for participants Mexico, New Zealand, Israel, South Africa and our own boys. Some tweaking and discussion of the game schedule went on and all was approved by the team delegates. We got details on dressing rooms, skate sharpening, the hotel (which is a sport centre geared specifically for athletes), DVDs of the games for coaches, and food and water of course. Mexico has assured us that there are two hospitals close by, and have also said they will come back to us shortly on a number of issues that need finalizing: an agreement with the hospital about injured players and insurance, a Sponsorship Package, and a price package for the hotel. The IIHF Official also asked the Mexican delegates for confirmation that in the event of a ban on public places issued by the government because of the Swine Flu, the games will still be played and on TV. The Mexican official said he would get this from his government. We were also told that there would be no charge for families of players into the games. Referees were approved by all the team delegates.

This was it for the day. Brains fried and hands tired from writing, we spent the evening trying the local Tunisian cuisine and meeting other country’s delegates who were very friendly, informative, and welcoming.

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