Bosnian Hockey starts second season

Bosnian Hockey starts second season

09 Jan 2011 | Vicko Ivanković

After almost 10 years of inactivity, Bosnian hockey celebrates its second edition of a domestic league.

Although Bosnia and Herzegovina became IIHF members in 2001, ice hockey was introduced to the country many years earlier. HK Bosna, based in the capital Sarajevo, was founded in 1980 and was the country's first and only club for years. Between 1980 and 1989 the club played in both the first and second Yugoslav hockey league with pretty good success. During that period ice hockey was very popular in Sarajevo, and home games of HK Bosna were attended by around six thousand people.

All hockey activity came to a halt in 1990, as the country got engaged in a war which lasted several years. Up until 2001 HK Bosna was inactive, although it had a few players in the youth categories. In 2001 the Bosnian hockey federation became a member of the IIHF, and this brought the country's hockey activity back to life. A few other clubs were founded in Sarajevo and the Bosnian national teams (senior and U18) participated in the IIHF World championships. In spite of the increasing hockey activity, a league was not played.

Only in 2010 the first league was formed, containing three clubs (Stari Grad Wolves, Bosna Foxes and Alfa Bears). The rules of the league are different than the regular ones; contact in play and slapshots are not allowed. The teams have about twelve players and the games last for 45 minutes, without a stopping clock. In the regular season every team plays ten games. Bosna and Stari Grad entered the final series as a first- and second seeded team. In best of three series Stari Grad won 2-1 and became the first Bosnian champion ever. In the meantime, three clubs competed in the national cup named after Jaroslav Jandourek, former coach of HK Bosna. The winners were Bosna Foxes. All games were played on the ice rink in front of the Olympic ice hall Zetra.

The current season started January 7th. The format is the same: three teams will play ten games each and then the first two teams will enter the best of three final series. After that three clubs will play in the National Jaroslav Jandourek cup.

Defending champion HK Stari Grad has almost the same roster as last season. Their best players are goalie Amel Čapi and forwards Emir Barakovac and Canadian Anthony London, who were the best scorers of the team last season. The rest of the team consists of the club's junior players.

HK Bosna has a few older players who are leaders of the team – Dubravko Posavec, Haris Muhić and Dino Pašović. The league's best scorer last season, Aleksandar Knežević, is also part of the team. The rest are junior players, out of whom the best is youngster Armen Velić.
HK Alfa is the weakest team on paper. They have the biggest number of junior players. Their best scorer last season was Canadian Jeff Monte and this season he will be joined by another Canadian: Ross MacLean, who will be an asset to the team.
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