Ice Hockey

Hockey is a sport played in an open field in which two teams compete with each other. Field hockey, ice hockey, bandy hockey and street hockey are different types of this sport.

Out of which both ice hockey and field hockey are very popular in the world. In this game, players have to hit the hockey ball with a hockey stick made of wood and hit as many goals as possible in the goal post of the opposing team.

Eleven players play in both hockey teams, each player has a hockey stick in his hand, with the help of which he hits the ball.

Like football and handball, in hockey too, there is a goal keeper to protect the ball from going to the goal post, whose body is protected by strict arrangements.

While this photo of France’s Lea Parment flying over goaltender Caroline Baldin may not instill much confidence in most, I can assure you that French hockey fans should be thrilled as the French squad used home-ice advantage in Vaujany over the last week to win the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division I Group A! What does that mean, you ask? Well, their win will see the French side promoted to the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Ice Hockey Championship with the big teams such as Canada, the United States, and Finland for the first time in the program’s history!

It wasn’t easy for the French side, but they have constantly improved over the years since France began participating in the IIHF Women’s Ice Hockey Championships since 1999. They’ve seen players move all over the planet to improve, and that includes Canada when the University of Montreal was the home to Marion Allemoz! Allemoz moved to Canada when she was 23, helping Les Carabins win the 2013 and 2016 U SPORTS National Ice Hockey Championships. She now plays with Les Canadiennes de Montreal, and she’ll see a lot of her Montreal teammates next season on the opposite side of the ice when France travels to Finland for the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Ice Hockey Championship.

The field is now set for next year’s top tournament as none of the eight teams that participated in 2017 were relegated after the IIHF passed a motion to increase the field at the World Championships to ten tema. The Czech Republic, who finished eighth out of eight teams, would remain as the eighth-ranked team for the 2019 tournament, and they would be joined by two additional teams for next year’s event. Japan had claimed one of those two spots after winning the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division I Group A tournament, and France claimed the second spot with their victory this weekend!

France finished the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division I Group A tournament with four wins and a loss. After dropping a 2-1 game to Norway on Monday, France went on a tear to find themselves controlling their own destiny yesterday. Norway, the team they lost to, could have caused a multiple-team tie for first-place with nine points if Norway had won in regulation time and if France had lost in regulation time. When it came time for France to play Slovakia, it all was moot as Austria beat Norway 3-0 earlier in the day. That didn’t mean France took this final game off, though, as they came and handed a beating to Slovakia in winning 7-1. Even if Norway had won, the regulation win by France would have ensured them promotion next season.

One of the key players in the success of the team is goaltender Caroline Baldin, and she was instrumental in France’s rise up the world rankings and on the international stage. Baldin has been playing in Switzerland with ZSC Lions Zurich, and she backstopped the Swiss team to a Swiss League gold medal this season over Florence Schelling’s squad! To stare down one of the best international goalies of the game and come away with the gold medal is a huge accomplishment for the 25 year-old goalkeeper. She reflected on Saturday’s win to Andrew Podnieks of IIHF.com.

“I’ve made a lot of good friends with my club team in Zurich,” she told Andrew. “They’re like family to me. Even though they might play for Team Switzerland, that doesn’t matter. For the moment, this win today is the biggest win of my life. But last year at the Olympic qualification, we came close to beating Germany, and really close to beating Japan, so tonight it was amazing to finally win.”

France knows they’re going to in tough against the likes of Finland, Canada, and the US when it comes to next year’s tournament. Heck, Russia and Sweden may also prove overwhelming to this upstart French squad. The point, though, is going to the tournament and using it as a measuring stick. Can they beat the Czech Republic? Can they measure up to Japan? Are they good enough to take a shot at Germany? All of these questions will be answered next year, of course, but France can certainly enjoy their victory today as they earned the right to skate alongside the world’s best next year.

For the record, Hungarian Fanni Gasparics was named the best forward in the tournament after leading in scoring with six goals and four helpers in five games. French defender Gwendoline Gendarme was named as the best defender and Norway’s Ena Nystrom was named as tournament’s top goalie. Austria finished as the silver medalists while Hungary captured the bronze medal. Next year’s Division I Group A will feature virtually the same field as Austria, Hungary, Denmark, Norway, and Slovakia will return, and they will be joined by Italy who earned a promotion from the IIHF Division I Group B tournament.

They’re still a long way off from trying to compete for a medal at the top level of women’s international hockey, but France has been invited to the dance after a lot of hard work. Here’s hoping they’ll continue that push and be part of the World Championships and the Olympics for a long time!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Ice Hockey is a good sport and is mostly liked by the students. To bring another golden era for Ice hockey, it should be promoted to actively participate among the students in schools and colleges. Talented children should be trained to play hockey right from the school level. To preserve Indian pride, the government should arrange necessary funds and other facilities for the students.