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25th Anniversary of International Ball Hockey - How Far Has The Game Come?


Bruce Huff (Toronto Star June 5, 1996) wrote, “Ball Hockey.  On the street, in the gym on the arena floors, it is simply a slice of Canadiana”


The Ontario Ball Hockey Association (OBHA) gave the game legitimacy in 1974….thousands of male and female players from youth through adult, recreational and elite, take part at an arena near you.


Ball Hockey, once equated as a whimsical, unstructured game played by neighbourhood kids on local street and schoolyard parking lots with a tennis ball and a snow pile for nets, made sports history in 1996 as Canada was crowned World Champions at the inaugural global tournament held in Bratislava, Slovakia.  Twenty-four of the best players in the country including 10 from Ontario travelled to the first World Championships testimony to the growth of the sport globally”.


This June will mark the 25th anniversary of that triumphant victory by Team Canada and the day the ball hockey community changed forever.  


Before we visit the historic event we look back to the start of international ball hockey and the decade of the nineties which was indeed the dawn of a new era in sport as the transition in ball hockey from the 'crazy eighties' to the transition years of the nineties was beginning to unfold. The OBHA inducted it's founding fathers into the Hall of Fame in 1990. Enshrined were Mssrs. Ken White, John Forrest, Paul Coulter and Mike Bernard respectively.


The game itself began to take on a new perspective. It was moving towards speed, finesse and a tenacious fore-checking style of play that wore down the bigger, more physical and less mobile opponents.  The game was garnering a new attitude and experiencing a changing of the guard.


In that same year, the OBHA opened its doors and invited their European counter parts in for the very first time as they played host to the Slovaks and Czechs in the annual Can-Am Tournament in Oshawa, Ontario. The event, spearheaded by then president Pat McEvoy and unbeknownst to many, would provide the foundation for the development of international relationships that would involve the participation of many more countries on a much larger scale of competition in the future. The best was yet to come.


Domenic Di Gironimo (OBHA Board member at the time) along with European counterparts were instrumental in the formation of the world body and making the inaugural World Championships happen.   For Canada, they didn’t have time to scout and the Montreal Storm 14 and Fernview Rangers 10 players would form the first team from Canada in the first global tournament where they defeated the Czech Republic 5-2 in the gold medal game.


The team set off on their history making voyage with heightened anticipation and a 16-hour travel itinerary awaiting the team.  All this only to find unseasonal temperature reaching 30C and no relief of air conditioning in either the travel bus or the hotel, the initial excitement of the trip quickly began to dissipate.   Even the services provided by the postwar hotel were inadequate and limited at best.   The basic amenities usually taken for granted were simply noy available.  This was not Canada!


Canada survived the preliminary round competition relatively unscathed by displaying the grit and determination of the Canadian game throughout the tournament, despite having to deal with the adversity of the lengthy travel schedule, time change, unfamiliar surroundings, vey humid conditions and often enough the politics of sports that often accompany such international events.


The team did their best to continue enduring the almost constant flow of seemingly unending challenges.  With opposing ideologies on how the game should be played and officiated, to the type of ball that should be used, all while trying to decipher no less than five different languages, none of which were remotely their own, the team did their best to comply.   Everyone finally did agree about one thing though, it was time to “Let the games begin”.


The more collegial and resurgent ball hockey brain trust gathered to reboot and restructure the sport for the new millennium.  Since than as a result, the game has experienced unbridled growth and development at the local, intra-provincial, national and international level of competition.


Participation in the minor, junior, men’s and women’s championship tournaments is at an all time high.  Players continue to play with their friends and on teams in their community leagues and beyond.   They are welcomed to compete in Provincial Championships and in 2021 will be the 47th in Ontario as the OBHA is the longest running association in the world!  More teams are represented intra-provincial and in the United States ad at the Canada Cup than ever before, as a result of the communal efforts of the membership, the opportunity to play for Canada is no longer a dream, but a reality for more and more ball hockey lovers.


Zimny Stadion in its natural splendor created more of a spine-tingling sensation for the players as crowds amassed early outside the arena in anticipation of Team Canada’s arrival for their first game.   Hockey is large in eastern Europe.   Any kind of hockey, especially for the kids.   They came in packs looking for autographs, sticks, shirts, or anything they can get their hands on, especially if it was Canadian.   The players were honoured and seemingly humbled by the attention as they got off the bus and headed to the ‘Players Only’ entrance, obligingly scribing their names on as many tournament programs that were thrust in their face from excited fans as the coaches proceeded to hand out souvenirs (flags, pins, t-shirts, hats….) to as many kids, security guards and administrative staff around the rink as their supplies would allow.


The team practiced together only twice before the tournament, but they pulled together at the right time.  The tournament was a huge success, and the host committee in Bratislava did a good job.  The crowds were incredible and the hospitality that the players received was very nice.  It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to play in a tournament of this magnitude, and all who were involved with Team Canada will remember this for a long time.  The team was captained by Mario Moroni and shared a positive socio-cultural and athletic experience in the quaint, former communist city of Bratislava where the Canucks became Slovakian fan favorites on and off the playing surface as the world gained an appreciation of the Canadian game and its people. 


Team Canada defeated Austria 16-0 in their first game.   The next few games proved to be a but more challenging.   Canada then tied Slovakia 5-5 and lost to the Czech Republic 5-2.  It became clearly obvious that the keys to success in the tournament would rest on the team’s ability to adapt to the adversity (jet lag, a six-hour time difference, uncomfortable sleeping quarters, dietary challenges and extremely humid conditions) and it’s adherence to a more disciplined approach to the game. 


Les Canadians rebounded as expected in their next three games defeating teams from Germany, Switzerland, and Russia to close out the round-robin competition.   Canada became the sentimental fan favourite after they eliminated the hometown Slovaks 4-1 in the semi-final.  They would meet the Czech Republic for the gold medal and world ball hockey supremacy. 


In an exciting and well-played final game, Gus Kourousis, Tournament MVP led Canada to a convincing 5-2 victory over the Czechs to capture the title and first ever World Championship of Ball Hockey.  The competition, which brought countries from Europe and North America together, was indeed the most storied and progressive event in the history of the game since organized paly began in the early 1970’s.


The globalization of ball hockey has finally arrived.  There are no longer any boundaries between borders.  It’s all for one and one for all.  The game has indeed become a nation under one roof that enters to all walks of life.  It has truly become a game that is open to everyone where anyone can play.


1996 Team Canada, despite winning the inaugural World Championship more importantly played an integral role in establishing the foundation for allied administrative team and players relationships in the sport of ball hockey in Canada.


Congratulations to the Ontario Ball Hockey Association and Quebec Ball Hockey Federation and for their support to Team Canada and their coaching staff of the first World Champions of Ball Hockey for….”Every Great Achievement was at one time considered impossible”.


Game 1 – 16-0 win over Austria

Game 2 – 5-5 tie with Slovakia

Game 3 – 6-3 loss to Czech Republic

Game 4 – 6-2 win over Germany

Game 5 – 14-0 win over Switzerland

Game 6 – 10-0 win over Russia

Semi Final – 4-1 win over Slovakia

Final – 5-2 win over Czech Republic 



Team Canada


Vince Arnone, Sal Bambaci, Gennaro Calzolaio, Chris Charles, Robert Costanzo, Ben Davis, Bryan Denney, Angelo Folano, Pat Jaffre, Gus Kourossis, Mike Lapolla, Michel Leclair, Nat Macri, Frank Magno, Mario Morroni, Neil Mcelligott, Giovanni Miloncini, Robert Moretto, Bill Nicholson, Bob Nicholson-Clarke, Frank Perciasepe, Pat Petraccione, Nick Vassilou


General Manager: Tony Iannitto, Head Coach: Daniel Ranalli, Assistants: Peter Morocco, Marc Marino, Administration: Domenic DiGironimo and Technical/Game Official: Mauro Cugini


Since 1996, when the Slovak host organization held this first World Championship, the game has come a long way. That same host organization would later become the World Ball Hockey Federation (WBHF) fostering global growth and various championship formats, stressing inclusion for both genders and various divisions of play in Men’s and Women’s Open as well as Master’s Open (O35), Elite (O40) and SuperSeries (O50) divisions and youth in U14, U16, U18, U20 and Girls U20 all in 5v5 categories.  The WBHF also offers 3v3 Championships for Men’s, Women’s, Master’s Open divisions and U17 & U19 youth divisions.



The Ontario Ball Hockey Association has been instrumental in assisting the WBHF with rapid growth in Russia, partnered with their hockey federation, as well as in China, developing programs for schools and assisting their Women’s Olympic Hockey program. The WBHF has continued its global expansion into Belarus, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, India, Pakistan, Poland and Sweden.


What stories will be written in the next twenty-five years?  Be a part of writing history!

#BallHockey #DekHockey #Hokejbal #StreetHockey #Hockeyballe #WeAreBallHockey




Monday, 14 December 2020 00:08

2021 Calendar of Events

While the pandemic continues to dominate our every-day life, recent announcements of vaccine development gives us all the opportunity to dream and begin planning for life after the pandemic.


In our history, the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada (NBHAC) has participated in the development of this sport at many levels, and as we look ahead to 2021 and beyond, we are planning to continue our legacy with a number of world class events.  


For all inquiries, please email the NBHAC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Click here for the 2021 Calendar of events


Stay safe and be well and we will see you in 2021





Wednesday, 07 October 2020 21:47

St. Catharines Camp Announced

The National Ball Hockey Association of Canada is hosting Development Skills Camps of all levels and four age groups as an introduction to the sport or to enhance player skills. 

The Development Skills Camps will be administrated and run by members of Women’s Men's and Junior Team Canada.

St. Catharines camp will be hosted Saturday, March 6 at the Haig Bowl


For the 2021 camp registration form, please click here for the form and submit it to the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada (NBHAC) no later than February 6, 2021 




Wednesday, 30 September 2020 19:29

Ottawa Camp Announced

 The National Ball Hockey Association of Canada is hosting Development Skills Camps of all levels and four age groups as an introduction to the sport or to enhance player skills. 

The Development Skills Camps will be administrated and run by members of Women's, Men's and Junior Team Canada.

Ottawa camp will be hosted Saturday, March 27 at the Rideau Sports Centre


For the 2021 camp registration form, please click here for the form and submit it to the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada (NBHAC) no later than March 6, 2021 




Friday, 25 September 2020 19:39

Durham Camp Announced

The National Ball Hockey Association of Canada is hosting Development Skills Camps of all levels and four age groups as an introduction to the sport or to enhance player skills. 

The Development Skills Camps will be administrated and run by members of Women's, Men's and Junior Team Canada.

Durham camp will be hosted Saturday, February 27 at Children's Arena


For the 2021 camp registration form, please click here for the form and submit it to the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada (NBHAC) no later than February 1, 2021 




Saturday, 12 September 2020 17:43

The Origins of Dek Hockey

Article Supplied by

French Version click below


A big special thank you to Guy Morin for sharing his story and contributing to the development of the sport in Quebec!


Dek Hockey is a sport that had its beginnings in the United States, and more particularly in Leominster, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.  The Mylec Company, a company that at that time sold equipment such as sticks and balls, received more and more phone calls during this period about where it was possible to practice Dek Hockey.  Following this enthusiasm, the company decided to invest in order to acquire a plastic playing surface and become the very first Dek Hockey center.  Founder of the Mylec company, Mr. Ray Leclerc who is the official designer of this sport so well known today.  Dek Hockey then became official in 1974.


Several US cities followed such as Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia and the state of Connecticut.  It was only in 1981 that the National Dek Hockey Association (NDA) was born.  The latter made it possible to make known the notoriety of this sport and to be able to standardize it and thus standardize it for all to see.


Mr. Guy Morin, an active hockey player as well as a cosum hockey player in the gymnasium, would become an important player in the Dek Hockey community at this time.  He allowed, among other things, to make things happen by bringing the concept of Dek Hockey to Quebec and by making known the sport in the province after several years of work and perseverance.


Following an advertisement about the Dek Hockey tournament in the state of Massachusetts in the sports magazine The Hockey News, a Canadian ice hockey magazine founded in 1947, Mr. Morin went directly to Leominster.  He had the opportunity to meet the owner of the Dek Hockey center, Mr. Chris Housser, in the spring of 1985, and at the same time he took advantage of it by visiting the premises.  After this meeting, Mr. Morin decided to create his own gymnasium league.  He absolutely wanted to open his league by respecting all the regulations of the sport while also taking into account the equipment allowing it to be played.  The goal is therefore to form teams, more precisely 4, so as to have the chance to participate in the very first Dek Hockey tournament in the Canadian city of Niagara Falls, Ontario and meeting between Mr Guy Morin and Mr Chris Housser in Leominster in 1985.


The following year, it was the province of Quebec's turn to host its very first 5-player vs. 5-player DekHockey game in June.  Indeed, the Incorporation of Dek Hockey Quebec Inc. carried out in May the importation of the first playing surface accompanied by a temporary band and the entire surface, which gave way to the match the following month.  The installation of the arena was the very first surface in 1986


Pictured: Tom Deery (Pittsburgh lineman), Guy Morin and Vincent Tremblay (ex Toronto Leafs goaltender)


In 1986, the players who played ball hockey, commonly known at the time, were mostly located in New Brunswick or in the west of the island of Montreal.  At that time, the key elements that set this sport apart from others and make it one of a kind were the surface as well as the equipment.  We can see that it was more precisely the dimensions of the playing surface as well as the sticks that were the 2 key elements of this sport in its early days.  These sticks were designed to give players greater control over the force of the throw and the trajectory of the ball, which weighs only one-third the usual weight of an ice hockey puck.  These sticks are also suitable for DekHockey surfaces constructed of polyethylene and each of the plastic paddles, made up of holes, allow air to pass through.


Mr. Morin presented a new formula for DekHockey players in 1989. This proposed a game schedule that would allow them to play half of their games in an arena (indoors) and the other half in the arena outside.  With almost unanimity, the players spoke and voted for the games to be played entirely outside.


The period between 1986 and 1991 was the one that will allow sport to be adapted to the realities of the province of Quebec.  It was at this time that, among other things, the translation of the rulebook, the translation of the Management Manual and other documents related to the good practice of the sport took place.


Patrick Roy, spokesperson for DekHockey from 1986 to 1994


 During this same period, creating and putting together all-inclusive “sets” for players was also a novelty for organizers in the DekHockey community.  Indeed, it was a challenge to include at the same time, the match schedules, referees and scorers, player registrations and statistics to be able to obtain a pro-rata of $ 8.00 per player /  per game at this time.


The next step in this whole process was Goalkeeper, a major step for the sport of DekHockey.  In fact, this would be able to validate whether the fact of standardizing each aspect of sport (such as playing surfaces, dimensions, refereeing, playing strategies, match schedules, management and  (marketing aspect too) was realistic or not at that time, in 1991. Once this was in place, we also had to ask ourselves whether the local demography of Quebec would be advantageous for exchanges.


The year 1993 was a turning point in the sport, as it was from then that Dek Hockey became a trademark in its own right.  The set of equipment used, the unique type of surface and the set of regulations attached to it are the 3 aspects that define this sport and this is what makes it so unique.  From that moment on, the popularity of the sport grew more and more and, by the same token, it was then marketed across the province.  In particular, many Quebec establishments, such as the Galeries de la Capitale in Quebec City, the Les 4 Glaces complex in Brossard, Place Bonaventure and the famous Olympic Stadium in Montreal have contributed to this expansion with the aim of developing this sport through the metropolis using an affiliate program.


Promotion of DekHockey at Galeries de la Capitale in Quebec City in 1994


Along this path, Guy Morin set out to find Quebec businesses that would like to partner with the concept of DekHockey.  The research was not easy knowing that at that time, the pool of players was not the highest in Quebec, and especially knowing that the manufacturers in the province did not want to take any risks with a novelty of the genre.  The goal was to bring the sport to Quebec to try to make it known locally and to prevent the monopoly in the United States from taking full place in North America.


Mr. Morin even thought of partnering with the Industrial Development Company (SDI).  This, directly in connection with the Government, would have been a good ally, because it would have made it possible to establish links between the local DekHockey and various potential companies to obtain help, with subsidies or to create partnerships.  Thus, Mr. Morin worked for many years with the SDI and a kiosk especially for DekHockey was installed at the Canadian sporting good association (CSGA) in Montreal and, more precisely, at Place Bonaventure.  The first goal was to be able to attract people to discover this brand new sport and popularize it in Quebec.


Other companies, such as D-Gel, IPL and Koho-Karhu (for DekHockey equipment) were also not interested in partnering with this concept at the time.  Yet they probably had no idea that a few years later the sport would take a whole new turn and gain tremendous popularity as a very interesting market.


In 1994, it was the setting up of matches 3 players against 3 players in the district of Charny, in the city of Lévis.  As a new sport in Quebec, the goal was above all to reach the smallest markets by creating a concept of the kind that is inspired by that which we already find in basketball, a sport that has already found its place in  the sports world.  Thus, this concept will be adopted more and more during the practice of DekHockey and the concept of 5 players against 5 players will be less and less popular.


Almost 7 years later, it was time to buy and build a center for DekHockey fans.  By the same token, it will 

become a benchmark establishment in this area for future promoters in the province.  Indeed, the Beauport center was a sports establishment with many potential sources of income that will allow it to be shared in the local market.


It is now thanks to all of these approaches that the sport of DekHockey is also developed and that it has the notoriety that we know to this day.

Monday, 07 September 2020 18:23

NBHAC Ball Hockey Gloves

A custom fitting glove to which mirrors the style of a traditional 3-Roll hockey glove.

This lightweight and breathable performance material has an articulated 3-piece thumb. 2-piece leather palm features new M-Grip gel overlay.

Also has an enhanced grip with protection across the top of the hand with the technology to be an elite performing glove and closed short cuff

How To Order:

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by October 31st

$50 taxes included and available in 9, 11 and 13 inch

Etransfer Information will be sent out on November 1st


Friday, 24 July 2020 14:15

The Passing of Tracy Kitchen


It is with a heavy heart on hearing the news of the passing of Tracy Kitchen.
I have known Tracy for many years and always enjoyed the discussions around coaching and the players when our paths crossed in Oshawa or at Provincials.  She did everything to get the most out of every player, both on and off the floor.  She was a friend, coach and leader to many of the girls that came into her life of ice and ball hockey.
In 2016, she travelled to the World Championships in Prague to support her nephew who was on the U20 team.   At the time I was aware that the World Ball Hockey Federation would be hosting the Girls U20 in two years and thought who better to get involved and so we discussed the Girls U20 program.
It didn't take long for her eyes to open up and interest peaked in representing the country and sport she loved for so many years.   It also didn't take long to ask for our Team Canada caps so at our next game, I presented her with one of my team hats.  
Tracy and I have been great supporters of the sport and specifically girls and women's ball hockey. I felt it was important to have her involved like I was given the opportunity many years ago.
Tracy was a member of the Oshawa Ball Hockey League for over 20 years playing, officiating and coaching.
I will miss her insatiable quest for knowledge, not just about the sport, but for life.  Always wanting to know what someone else's opinion was on subjects to be able to see things from different perspectives.  I will miss her easy laugh and her being able to make me laugh.  
She was exactly how every person should be, so accepting of everyone, loving, kind, engaging, entertaining, humbling and that smile that would light up any room.
The ‎ world is emptied without her yet somehow fuller from the many gifts she left behind .
My heart is heavy for her family, friends and players she came across she adored you.  
Her smile will continue to shine bright in our hearts and her loss is immeasurable to her family, friends, players and our thoughts and prayers are with all of them. 
On behalf of the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada, condolences to the family and friends of Tracy Kitchen. 
Rest Easy My Friend
Mauro Cugini


Thursday, 04 June 2020 20:42

Team Canada Reveals Their Alternate Logo

A team's logo and colors must have a positive effect on its players and fans to always feel like winners when decked out in logos and symbols that scream, "This is OUR team."

Is there a logo in ball hockey that is more representative of a team than the CANADA leaf that is the NBHAC Team Canada program, it’s classic and timeless in the red and white.   OUR Leaf is iconic, not only in that it easily identifies the most popular nation in the sport, but also because of the significance of the maple leaf in the country.

The alternate logo is a take on The Ohio State University, but unequivocally our take on OUR team and OUR history and part of OUR identity.

The alternate logo is classic in design and brilliant in its simplicity. The “C” represents the members and alumni of the MTC, WTC and JTC and is bright and distinctive. Perfect in its simplicity, the C represents CANADA and the nine leafs represent our National teams. The bottom five leafs represent the JUNIOR program and U14, U16, U18, U20 and Girls U20 teams and will be the future of the program as they look up to the adult program in the top leafs.  The top four leafs represent the Men's (Open & Masters) and Women's (Open & Masters) teams.   The grey represents the borders of the nation and the BALL HOCKEY across the logo represents as the anthem states, ‘From far and wide, O Canada we stand on guard for thee’.

The CANADA leaf and the new “C” will continue to be instantly recognized and distinctively CANADA BALL HOCKEY representing the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada.

With Glowing Hearts We See Thee Rise

#LetsGo #WeReady #WeAreTeamCanada #BeTheStandard

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 22:31

NBHAC Update to Coronavirus

National Ball Hockey Association of Canada Update To Coronavirus (COVID-19)


May 20, 2020
The National Ball Hockey Association of Canada and its members are working on a plan to Return to Ball Hockey and have created a step by step implementation in collaboration and direction from the various provincial governments, public health authorities and municipal departments. 

As per many of the provincial health department updates, the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada has extended the emergency response to June 30, 2020.


The NBHAC will, however, continue to monitor and assess the situation as well as the recommendations of Provincial Health Units and with the actions of the Municipal Facility operators in curtailing or cancelling operations at the community centres and arenas.  

When Canada is ready, the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada will be ready to return and will continue to follow the guidelines set by the respective provincial governments and public health authorities as well as implement our step by step return to play with the municipal departments.


At present, each province is returning to ‘the new normal’ at different stages and plans.   The return of ball hockey will be done in the same manner due to the provincial health authorities. The association has created the following set of procedures and policies to return to ball hockey.


1. Leagues within each Province must follow their Provincial Health Authority and Provincial Association re-start plan

2.  Each League must have a re-start plan that aligns with their Provincial Public Health Authority policy for restarting as well as implement the step by step procedures set forth by the NBHAC


3. The NBHAC will have to agree to the sanctioning any ball hockey activity, game or event in the country


4. Leagues that do not follow the first three steps will not have any insurance protection for their activities  

5. Leagues that do not follow the steps set forth by the Provincial Health Authority and NBHAC to return to play will face sanctions by the NBHAC


To our Members, Executives, Officials, Volunteers and spectators across Canada, we thank you for your patience and will see you around the rink, gymnasium, street hockey event as soon as it is possible.


We will continue to provide information and updates as information becomes available.


Thank you for keeping everyone healthy



Board of Directors
National Ball Hockey Association of Canada


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