The ISBHF Men's World Championships (International Street and Ball Hockey Federation) have been held since 1996, when Bratislava hosted the event for the first time. It is held regularly every second year with exceptions of 1998 and 1999. Since then, the tournaments have been held in odd years. The Women's World Championships have been played since 2007.
Since 1996, eleven tournaments have been played. Canada, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are way ahead of all others and together they have claimed all gold medals so far. Other teams that have won medals throughout the event's history are the USA, India (both silver) and Italy (bronze).
|1998||Litomerice (CZE)||Czech Republic|
|2009||Pilsen (CZE)||Czech Republic|
|2011||Bratislava (SVK)||Czech Republic|
|2013||St. John's (CAN)||Slovakia|
Women have played five tournaments until now and the same three countries have taken home the medals every time. The four-time champions from Canada are followed by the Slovaks with one title. The Czechs have won a silver once and bronze four times.
|2013||St. John's (CAN)||Canada|
The Worlds in the Czech Republic
This year's tournament in Pardubice is the third World Championship to be held in the Czech Republic. The first time, it was in Litomerice in 1998. Eight teams played in that tournament in two groups followed by semifinals. There the host team defeated Canada 5-2 while the Slovaks won over the USA 5-1. The gold medal stayed in the host country as the Czechs managed to win the final game 3-1 over their eastern neighbours, claiming their first ever World Championship title. The bronze went to Canada.
The second time the Czechs took over the tournament was in 2009 when the national teams gathered in Pilsen. With 16 teams in the men's competition, there were two categories based on the rankings. As the B division was won by Greece over Austria and Switzerland, the elite group semifinals brought together the Czechs and Slovaks on one side and India with the USA on the other. The Americans caused a minor sensation by defeating Canada in their quarterfinal game, but the semifinal one was a different story. Both games finished with narrow 5-4 victories for the Czechs and India. The second title for the Czech Republic became reality in the third minute of overtime when captain Petr Novak scored the golden goal for for his team for a 4-3 win. Slovakia won the bronze medal.
The women played their second tournament ever in Pilsen. After the round robin, Canada was in the lead with Slovakia, the Czech Republic and the USA following. Those were also the final rankings after the playoffs. Canada defeated Slovakia 5-2 in the final, while the hosts defeated the Americans in the battle for bronze.
Photo: Zdeněk Vaiz – www.fotovaiz.com