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North American Veterans battled for bronze, enjoyed week in Nový Jičín

20.05.2018 | Derek O'Brien, Petr Sumbal / foto: Lenka Rybaříková

The Veterans’ category at the 2018 Inline Hockey World Championships welcomed 10 teams to Nový Jičín. The two teams that had the least distance to travel the Czech Republic and Slovakia met in the final, but the two teams that met in the bronze-medal game had to travel overseas from North America. The United States defeated Canada 6-3 to take third pace, and American Douglas Fetz and Canadian Brent Henry spoke about their experiences this past week after the game.

“It was a very close game,” Henry thought. “We had our chances but the pucks just didn’t go in for us today and they did for them. That was really the difference. I think it was very equal, the number of chances they had versus the number of chances we had, and they got a few more lucky bounces than we did.”

“We were in the game today our minds were here,” Fetz said about his team’s effort in the last game, but he had to admit: “We didn’t want to play in this game. We wanted to play for the gold medal. That’s why we came here.”

Both Canada and the USA had lost to both the Czechs and Slovaks during the group stage or the semi-finals. Fetz said about the strength of the Slovak team: “They play a good outside game and we had difficulty getting into the middle.”

Looking ahead to the gold-medal game, Henry said: “I believe that the Czech team is just a bit better than Slovakia, just by an inch. It’s probably going to come down to some small detail, like lucky bounce or a bad penalty that somebody takes advantage of.”

His pre-game forecast turned to be quite accurate, as the final was a very close game, tied 4-4 when the Czechs knocked in a loose puck around the Slovak goal with just over 10 minutes to play.

During the week, the Americans were focused on hockey and Fetz admitted: “We didn’t see very much here, but we saw Prague before we came here saw the castle, the astronomical clock and all the usual stuff. It was great.”

However he did say about Nový Jičín: “We enjoyed the atmosphere here, and the beer is great!”

By contrast, Henry said: “We all got around and went to many different places, went to some fantastic restaurants the food here is absolutely wonderful and the beer is very good too.”

Despite their fourth-place finish, the Canadians enjoyed their week in Nový Jičín, both inside and outside the arena.

“It was fantastic!” Henry said about the tournament. “We stayed about 20 minutes away from the arena and the facilities were fantastic, everything was well organized, the floor was very grippy, all the games started on time and the referees overall were very good, so really, we can’t complain about anything.”

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