Jun-28-14 - Budapest: As much as I would rather focus only on the positives in the sport, such as Hungary hosting an international junior championship for the first time or India participating at U20, I find myslef needing to respond to the ridiculous social media comments about the WBHF and our WJC. Typically I do not engage in social media responses because it is a forum used mainly by the misinformed who lack the courage to engage in meaningful conversation to discover the truth.
For the record, the WBHF declared its WJC dates long before the ISBHF. There was no effort on our part to compete on the same dates, rather the other way around. It is a little known fact that I travelled to Europe late last fall to meet with some European leaders affiliated to the ISBHF to open dialogue between our organizations. I truly believe that we all have important roles to play in the development of our sport. Myself, Jaroslav Melisek and Chris Housser were the three most influential people in the development of the international growth of the game. Without our efforts there would be no ISBHF or certainly one without 90% of their members, which we recruited.
The decision to leave the ISBHF and form the WBHF was based mainly on a difference of opinion on leadership vision. The ISBHF prefers to allow the strong nations to have more power and take advantage of those still in early development. The ISBHF constitution is set up that way and their track record reveals this. The WBHF is founded on the basic principle that all nations have equal right and equal importance.
Getting back to the 2014 WJC, in December we invited the ISBHF to work together to host one big event matching best on best. They declined. I have to wonder why. Is it that their European members would rather not face the best Canadian and American national teams or to avoid the talent India would put on the floor against them. Or perhaps ASHI and CBHA would rather not be embarrassed by the USDHF and NBHAC superior national teams. Whatever their reasons it shows a lack of commitment to find common ground in growing the sport and I dare say a serious lack of courage.
The ISBHF has no official recognition by any international sport or games governing body, regardless what the mindless facebook and twitter bloggers say. If anyone knows that, it is me. After all, it is I who worked directly with IIHF to promote our game as a development tool. The IIHF has been very kind to provide resource materials to improve development support. It is largely inappropriate to use the IIHF name as a way to raise the profile of the ISBHF. The last dozen times I read the IIHF newsletter, which I regularly receive, there has never been a mention of the ISBHF or any of its events. Not because our sport is not worthy of praise, but rather because there is no official affiliation.
The real shame in all of this is that athletes are being hurt and prevented to enjoy international opportunities in the sport. Case in point, both the ISBHF versions of national governing bodies for Czech Republic and Slovakia issued threats against players if they attended the WBHF WJC. In a true act of abuse of civil rights there are several people who will be forced to explain to government authorities why they feel they have the ability to prevent people from playing an amatuer sport. It is the sole reason why a set of U18 Czech jerseys remain empty in Budapest and why many top players from Slovakia are at home instead of assisting their couragious borthers in Budapest. We will press this issue within those nations. The WBHF supports the players, first and foremost, something others should be more mindful of.
So I say here, in this blog, that all of us are equally responsible for the future of the sport and I challenge everyone to act in such a manner. I offer congratulations to the hosts in both Budapest and Bratislava and all of the athletes who compete at both WJC events. After all, is it not really about the players and not the politics.