Q & A with Dimitris Kalyvas captain of the Greek national team about the past, the present and the future of Greek Ice Hockey.
July 14, 2016 by National Teams of Ice Hockey
Greek Ice Hockey has been suspended since 2014, we chatted with team Captain of the Greek national team Dimitris Kalyvas who is on a mission to get Greece back on the world stage.
Can you tell our audience little bit about yourself?
[Dimitris Kalyvas] Well, I was born in Montreal, Canada and moved to Greece at a very young age. I started playing hockey in Montreal, as most kids did back in the 70s, and fell in love with the sport. Moving to Greece was a lot easier when I found out that ice hockey is being played there. I started playing hockey in Greece from the minute the plane landed in 1989 and haven’t stopped since. As for the National Team, I was a member of the first Junior National Team that was formed in 1989. In the Men’s Team, I become captain from 1998 and remained until the last National Team in 2013. I’ve participated in 8 IIHF World Championships and I am the all-time top scorer of the National Team.
How did ice hockey get started in Greece?
[Dimitris Kalyvas] Ice Hockey started in Greece in 1984 by players that returned to Greece from abroad. There was a small ice rink in Athens. No boards, no Zamboni. But, it was ice hockey! At the beginning, it was just games being played amongst friends, but very soon things started to organize. Team were formed, a Federation was created (1987), and the first Junior National Team participated in the IIHF World Championships in Yugoslavia in 1989.
Anyone who forgets his history is doomed to be forget himself. Whether culturally, in sports or elsewhere. In Greece unfortunately, we have a tendency to forget easily. If you ask a child today who is Nick Galis, I’m more than certain that few will respond correctly. The Greeks never knew how to honor those who have contributed.
From this page we will try to keep the memories alive, not that we can compare ourselves to Nick Galis, but for our sport, we offered a lot!
Let us remember how the golden years of the Greek Hockey started:
It has now been 2 years since the last participation of Greece in the Division III World Championships. We have watched with great interest the 2014 and 2015 Championships. While it has been great to see new countries participate we have been disheartened to see many of the lopsided results which in our humble opinion does detract from the quality of the Championships.
Since our re-entry into the IIHF family in 2008 we have taken the liberty of accumulating the following game statistics, which we of course know that you are aware of:
2008: 8 games
2009: 6 games
2010: 5 games
2012: 5 games
2013: 4 games
2014: 11 games
2015: 14 games
2008: 1 game
2009: 0 games
2010: 2 games
2012: 0 games
2013: 1 games
2014: 6 games
2015: 5 games
The sudden increase in the lopsided scores appears to coincide with the removal by the IIHF of Greece, Ireland and Mongolia after 2013 from participating in the Championships due to not meeting the minimum participation standards regarding an ice facility in the country. Prior to this change, many of these high differential games may have happened in qualifications which most likely would have led to a more competitive World Championship while allowing the countries participating in the qualifications to continue to develop the sport of hockey in their respective countries.
It is in this spirit that the following is presented in order to give you the current status of Ice Hockey in Greece, the impact of Greece’s removal by the IIHF from participating at the World Championships and a new idea that can help all lower division countries develop the sport in a more structured and monitored fashion.