Monday, 10 June 2013

The Women Do Canada Proud

Having seen some spectacular ball hockey played in Winnipeg recently, I thought it would be appropriate to talk a little about another ball hockey tournament that took place at the Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay, Newfoundland. The 2013 World Ball Hockey Championships wrapped up yesterday, and it was two old foes who squared off in the women's final as Team Canada faced off against Team Slovakia in the championship game!

These two teams have some history as Canada and Slovakia have each won two gold medals over the last four tournaments, held every two years. Slovakia had downed Canada in 2011, so the Canadian team was looking for a little revenge after being tops in 2007 and 2009. Clearly, though, the best two teams in recent history were meeting to determine ball hockey supremacy, and the hometown crowd was hoping for a Canadian victory on home soil!

Native Newfoundlander and Deer Lake resident Dawn Tulk scored both of Canada's goals for the home squad, and Kristen Cooze of Kippens, Newfoundland assisted on both of Tulk's goals as Canada shut down the Slovakian attack in earning the 2-0 win! Joining Tulk and Cooze in representing Newfoundland and Labrador was Amanda Kean as the trio helped Canada hoist the 2013 World Ball Hockey Championship Trophy!

The game wouldn't be without its stars, though. Zuzana Tomcikova wore Slovakian colors as the goaltender for the women's ice hockey team at the 2010 Olympic Games, and she tends nets for the Bemidji State Beavers in the NCAA. However, it was Tulk who showed off her incredible talents as she beat Tomcikova twice in leading Canada to victory!

While the Canadian women were soaking up the spotlight with their victory, the Canadian men where trying to fend off questions about a teammate who went absolutely berzerk in the semi-final game they played and, ultimately, lost.

Justin Pender, a former Halifax Moosehead and current member of the ECHL's Ontario Reign, came on at the end of the game with just a few seconds remaining for what seemed like a meaningless face-off when it appeared some chirping began between himself and the Czech Republic player he was lining up against for the face-off. I'll let the video explain the rest.
I don't know what was said to Pender, but the pointing at the scoreboard by the Czech player clearly sent him into a rage. And it didn't just stop with the Czech player as the Czech goaltender and an official took a physical beating in trying to stop Pender's rage attack.

Terry Ryan, Pender's teammate, indicated via Twitter that the Czechs had been "spitting [at] our bench, diving all over floor and laughing at us after every dive", something the Canadian squad found classless. Ryan goes on to say, "I've never seen a team rub it in like that, its not like we did anything dirty out there... / ...the Czechs simply used the whole dive/flop/taunt thing as a tactic. I stand by my guys as a captain...".

This was an international event, so fighting is banned, of course. I get where Terry Ryan is coming from in terms of a sportsmanship view, but pummeling an official who needed to be stretched off to the hospital is a little much, no? In any case, Pender's suspension is still under review, but I expect he'll be asked to sit out a long time after raining blows upon two Czechs and an official.

Disgraceful? Check.
Unnecessary? Check.

The players and officials, I'm guessing, probably don't make very much money from playing in or working these games. To send one man to the hospital while trying to cave in another man's face is simply idiotic. By the way, the Czechs won the gold medal, and Canada throttled Portugal to take the bronze medal. It just doesn't seem like it was worth it, though.

Congratulations to both squads - I think - but a huge applause for the Canadian women for playing within the rules to win a gold medal for Canada! Well done, ladies!

As for the men, clean up your act!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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