What aboat inline hockey in Canada?
Canada is where people love hockey. Ice hockey. Fortunately more and more people are starting to play inline hockey in the summer months and Canada’s national teams are slowly becoming one of the world’s top contenders. We spoke to three of Team Canada’s players that are probably more well known in Europe then they are in Canada. We asked Thomas Woods (1988), Dave Hammond (1985) and Frédérick Corbeil (1976) the same three questions:
Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you have been this past year and how inline hockey has influenced you on a daily basis.
Thomas: My name is Thomas Woods I am a 22-year-old 4th year business student in Vancouver, BC. I have been playing inline hockey for 12 years now. I recently returned from Caen, France where I was studying in a semester abroad program and I also had the opportunity to play for the Caen Conquerants in the French Elite League. I had an amazing time in France. The level of inline hockey was very high and I made some great friends. I returned home in December and played Narch Winternationals with the Tour Mudcats. Since returning to Vancouver I have started playing in two inline hockey leagues and I am currently training for Team Canada tryouts in May. Inline hockey influences me on a daily basis by allowing me to travel around the world and play the sport that I love. I also really enjoy the opportunities to coach and mentor the next generation of inline players. Playing inline hockey has really broadened my horizons and continues to give me incredible experiences, both in Canada and internationally.
Frédérick: Hi, I’m Frederick Corbeil from Montreal, Quebec. I’m player coach of a team from Paris (Les Corsaires de Paris -ed). Inline hockey is my job, I’m on skates every day except monday.
Dave: The past two and half years I have been teaching roller hockey for the Coastal Pirates hockey club located in Namibia, Africa. I work 5 days a week and teach from roughly 2 pm until 9pm every day. I am on my skates nearly 30 plus hours a week and there isn’t a day that goes by in which I’m not doing something for the sport of roller hockey, whether that be teaching it in 3rd world countries or playing it myself.
What do you think about the state of inline hockey in Canada? Do you think the love for ice hockey makes it harder for inline hockey to evolve in Canada?
Frédérick: Our sport is growing considerably in recent years and will continue to do so, I’m sure. Ice hockey will always be more important due to our long winter season and the culture of this sport in our country.
Dave: Canada is ice hockey; it always has been and always will. The biggest problem in Canada is the amount of year round facilities available for our wonderful sport. In Toronto roller hockey only goes for 3 months a year, and simply due to the fact that it takes place when the ice is melted. Players only come to roller once their ice seasons have ended. As the sport continues to evolve I think a strong push will be made for roller hockey as more and more players are going from wheels to blades and making it all the way to the NHL. Until we start getting paid big money for roller hockey, it will never really have a chance in Canada with ice hockey being the dominate sport through the entire country.
Thomas: It’s tough to say where the state of inline hockey is in Canada. I would like to say that it is continuously growing but it’s still no-where near where it was in the hay-days of the RHI and the Vancouver Voodoo. I have seen more ice hockey players giving inline hockey a try and realizing the benefit of the sport but ice Hockey still dominates Canada and it’s very hard to change the perception of inline hockey in a strictly ice hockey player’s mind. I think one of the main reasons is that we have very few full year inline hockey facilities. There just isn’t the option for some guys to play inline all year round. I hope one day that we can get back to where it was in the early 90’s when I would go watch the Voodoo play.
What are your plans for this summer? NARCh Finals? IIHF or FIRS World Championships? What league will you play in after the summer?
Dave: My plans for this summer are simple; play as much high level roller hockey as possible. I have just finished up my two and half years in Namibia and am looking to get back on the roller hockey map. I will be at all the big events this summer. I will be playing NARCh and TORHS Pro with my Reebok team and State wars, either with California or Ontario if Canada will have a team. If politics stay out of it, I will represent Canada at both IIHF and FIRS events this summer. As for next year I am currently looking for a team to play professionally in Europe. I plan on being there for the entire season of 2011/2012.
Frédérick: I’ll go to Italy to represent Canada in the FIRS World Championships in July and will play NARCH Pro and 35 and older in Florida at the end of that month. After that it’s time for a three week vacation and then I’ll return to France to prepare for the new season with my French team.
Thomas: I am hoping to play IIHF, FIRS, and NARCh this summer but it all depends on money. It’s very expensive and difficult to take so much time off work. I have been talking with a few sponsors but am always looking for more. I hope that I can play all three tournaments because they are always an amazing time.
Let us know what you think in the comment section below!