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.
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.
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.
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.
- Siberian Winter Escapade – a small group tour
- Trans-Siberian Winter Wonder Land Route – a rail journey by private train
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