Russian “Hockey”: The World Championship of Bandy in Irkutsk

Russian “Hockey”: The World Championship of Bandy in Irkutsk

During the 2014 Winter Olympics, about 3,000 miles east of Sochi, teams from all around the world were gathering in Irkutsk, Russia for the most important athletic competition of the year: the World Championship of Bandy.

Get ready to rumble! Bandy players in action <br> Photo Credit: Matt Capazzoli

Get ready to rumble! Bandy players in action
Photo credit: Matt Capazzoli

Bandy is a unique game that incorporates the rules of both soccer and hockey. Played on a sheet of ice larger than a football field, bandy is played mostly by Arctic nations. Each team fields ten players and a goalie in a formation very similar to soccer. Players direct a small orange ball using 3-foot sticks while skating, weaving, and dodging over more than 300 yards of ice.

Nice save! <br> Photo Credit: Matt Capazzoli

Nice save!
Photo credit: Matt Capazzoli

While most competitive bandy players hail from Sweden, Norway, or Russia, the sport has been finding its way around the world. Bandy enjoys marginal support in Canada, the United States, China, and Japan.

Gathering for the final playoff <br> Photo Credit: Matt Capazzoli

Gathering for the final playoff
Photo credit: Matt Capazzoli

Amazingly, in 2014, at the 34th World Championship of Bandy in Irkutsk, Somalia not only had enough bandy players to field a team, but qualified for the international tournament for the first time in history. Sadly, they lost all their tournament games. But it’s a start.

Fireworks light the sky for the awards ceremony <br> Photo Credit: Matt Capazzoli

Fireworks light the sky for the awards ceremony
Photo credit: Matt Capazzoli

Why end might Winter in Siberia with MIRRussia is at its best during the winter. MIR has nearly 30 years of travel experience in Siberia and MIR affiliate offices in the Siberian cities of Irkutsk and Ulan Ude offer on-the-ground support and quality you can trust.

Take an exciting snowmobile ride, race teams of dog sleds and fish through the ice on one of these MIR winter tours through Siberia:

You can also travel on a custom private journey, hand-crafted to match your interests and travel style or celebrate the winter holidays in Western Russia on our Russian Winter Wonderland small group tour.

 

Top Photo: Bandy players gather for a group photo op with their mascot. Photo credit: Matt Capazzoli

 

PUBLISHED: November 16, 2015

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