History Of The Irish Ice Hockey Association
The history of the Irish Ice Hockey Association began long before its introduction into the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) in 1996. Years of hard work and dedication finally paid off when Fredrick Meredith of Great Britain and Murray Costello of Canada nominated the Republic of Ireland for a spot in the Federation. The team had finally made its mark in the world of ice hockey.
Ice hockey in Ireland had humble beginnings. They played in an old cinema building transformed into an ice rink called The Dublin Ice Rink. At The Dublin Ice Rink, the space was limited and small at best. Many people came to the rink to learn how to skate and with some many willing participants, management knew that ice hockey would be a source of income.
At first, younger kids came to the rink to learn the sport. They practiced with shared sticks and pads due to the shortage of equipment. Word spread around quickly to local colleges where Canadian ice hockey players were attending. The students came to the rink and eventually taught the young players the rules and skills needed to play the sport.
It wasn’t an easy start; the Irish ice hockey players were not as skilled as their Canadian counterparts. But time proved that the Irish players were hard working individuals who believed that practicing every day would eventually pay off. Throughout the 1980s the players went against other local players but sometime in the mid 1980s the sport died down. The interest in ice hockey in Ireland waned.
In 1987, another ice rink opened and this led to the re-emergence of ice hockey. With two teams playing against each other, ice hockey sprung back to life. The two teams now became the Rialto Rockets and the Phibsboro Flyers. Each game was intense and whoever won played with the most spirit that day.
At the ice rinks hockey took a back seat to regular ice skating. The players had to wait until the rinks were empty to play. Discouraged and disappointed, both teams came together and formed the Dublin Flyers. The Dublin Flyers opened up new doors to Irish ice hockey. Determined to not let their team fade, the Irish hockey team practiced and sharpened their skills. Eventually, the team was good enough to take on the Scottish ice players and won the Glenrothes Winter Challenge Cup in both 1995 and 1996. In 1997 they won the Scottish Cup. Scotland lost the cup for the first time in its ice hockey history.
Years of not giving up greatly influenced the Irish ice hockey team’s success. This team is now a part of the IIHF as The Irish Ice Hockey Association.