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Inline hockey in Sweden has long and proud traditions. Up until 2016, the sport was governed by the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation and all games were played following the IIHF rules. Sweden had claimed it's rightful place amongst the top inline hockey countries in the world by participating in the IIHF inline hockey world championship tournaments from their inception all the way to Tampere 2015. Now SIHF, a member of FIRS directly and IIHF through the ice hockey federation, governs both branches of the sport of inline hockey in Sweden.
2016 saw a change. The appetite in the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation to govern inline hockey was diminishing and a new partner was sought. Inline hockey is also governed by two international governing bodies, IIHF and FIRS. These two competing bodies organise world championships and play to slightly different rules. IIHF has a considerably higher production value and their events are world class, but FIRS caters for women and juniors so if we were to put the player at the centre of everything, we need to participate in both! So the Swedish Inline Hockey Federation was born.
SIHF took three national teams, senior men, senior women and junior men, to the FIRS world championships in 2016. SIHF also organised the 2016 domestic leagues and SM Veckan national championships.
In 2017, SIHF was tasked by the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation to take the senior men's national team to the IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship finals on its behalf and we are also running four additional national teams in FIRS games this year; namely senior men, senior women, U20 men, U20 women and U18 men. We are also founding members of the Nordic Club Championships together with the Finnish Ice Hockey Federation, with the inaugural Nordic Cup being played in Somero, Finland, in April 2017.
Boldly into the futureOur aim is to promote the game of inline hockey in Sweden and abroad. We will provide more opportunities to play for more people than ever before. We will cherish our role and position as the little brother of ice hockey. We will work with all stakeholders to improve facilities and push the game to the forefront. We recognise that our sport is a small one; we know that world governance is fragmented. Our aim is to work through the challenges we face with dedication, determination and a spirit of cooperation.
We acknowledge that transition is always challenging; especially in a sport like inline hockey that is small and globally governed by competing organisations. Resources are scarce and facilities few and far in between. That said, our sport is known for its incredible community spirit and gritty can-do people who volunteer countless hours for the betterment of the sport. This is our strength and together we will rise to the challenge.
The future of inline hockey in Sweden is bright! Our partnership with the IIHF through the ice hockey federation and membership of FIRS allows us to offer more opportunities to players than ever before.
We are excited about what 2017 will bring. National and regional leagues in ever-growing divisions and age groups. Championships and tournaments for fun. Swedish championships in Landvetter and world championships in Bratislava and Nanjing... small our sport and organisation may be, but we are global and we look forward to every game this upcoming season!