|National teams|| Men's|
|National federation||Turkish Ice Hockey Federation|
|IIHF since||May 1, 1991|
|Top league||Turkish Ice Hockey Super League|
|Current champion||Zeytinburnu Belediyesi SK|
Turkey is a country in Western Asia. Ankara is the capital, and Istanbul is the largest city.
|Turkish Ice Hockey Super League||1992||-||Top-level national competition|
|Turkish Ice Hockey First League||2005||-||Second-level national competition|
|Turkish junior competitions||-||Various junior competitions|
|Turkish Ice Hockey Women's League||2006||-||National women's competition|
History of hockey in Turkey
The Bel-Pa Ice Rink hosted the first match ever played in compliance with the IIHF rules and regulations, at the end of 1989 between Ankara Tarım Kredi Spor and Istanbul Paten Kulübü teams.
As of January 1990, ice hockey in Turkey operated under the jurisdiction of the Turkish Ski Federation, and the first championship ever was organized among two teams from Ankara and two from Istanbul. Ankara Büyükşehir Belediyesi, İstanbul Paten Klübü, Ankara Atatürk Buz Hokeyi Takımı and İstanbul Boğaziçi Patinaj Klübü participated in the competition and B.B. Ankara SK became the champion.
The rising interest in ice hockey led to an increasing number of players and then teams. The Turkish Ice Hockey Federation was founded in 1991, and Turkey joined the IIHF on May 1 of the same year. Rino Ouellette, a Canadian diplomat in Ankara, who coached two teams consecutively, contributed much to the development of ice hockey sport in Turkey.
A tournament, organized in 1992 (won by Belpa Ankara), laid the ground stone for the establishment of the Turkish Ice Hockey Super League in 1993. During the league's inaugural season, Turkey had its first hockey scandal when a huge brawl between supporters of Ankara BB and Yükselis Spor Kulübü (Yükselis Sport Club) erupted.
Two foreigners played in the Turkish league that season. Canadian Paul Kershaw played for Yükselis and scored 16 points (12+4) in 5 games. The other foreigner was the Swedish goalie Svante Cornell who was the son of an Embassy employee. His goaltending didn't help much because his team Ankara Paten Kulübü finished last. In 1994 there were no foreigners in the Turkish league. In 1995 the 36 year old Russian defenseman Sergei Kislitsyn won the scoring championship when he helped Ankara BB win their third Turkish title in a row. He scored 36 goals in 8 games. Kislitsyn played many seasons in the Russian League for Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk.
The import who made the biggest impression in the Turkish League was the Bulgarian international star Stoyan Batchvarov. He scored 185 goals and added 130 assists for 315 points in only 30 games between 1996 and 1998. He scored 101 goals during the 2001 season and played in Turkey until 2007. The best teams in the Turkish League have been B.B. Ankara SK and Polis Akademisi ve Koleji, who have won seven and six titles, respectively.
The first games that a Turkish team played against international competition were three friendly games between the Istanbul Paten Kulübü and a Junior-B team from the Netherlands (HIJS Den Haag). They played on May 25, 28 and 29, 1990. The Turkish team lost the games by a wide margin. One of the games ended in a 23-1 loss. The historic Turkish lineup looked like this: Ercan Bilsay (goalie), Ender, Karsten, Deniz, Nevzat, Tankut, Cem, Yalin, Murat, Sinisa, Can, Gurhan, Serhan, Hakan and Serkan.
The first Turkish club team to play real international games was Ankara BB SK. They played in the European Cup in Budapest (Hungary) in October 1993. There they only lost 16-1 to Czech team HC Sparta Praha and 16-1 to the Romanian team Steaua Bucharest and then were trounced 51-1 by the Hungarian team Ferencvárosi TC.
The men's national team made its international debut in 1992, playing in the C2 Pool of the World Championships held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The team was made up by players from Ankara and Istanbul. The Turkish team lost all five games, but gained some valuable experience. Goalies Aktan Ercan and Yassar Kuvvet quickly became the crowd favorites when they bravely fought between the pipes. They were bombarded in goal,but still enjoyed themselves. Defenseman Ümit Varol was selected as the best Turkish player in the tournament. The team was coached by Canadian Rino Ouellette.
The 1992 C Pool Qualification tournament was played in Ankara. It was the first time ever Turkey hosted an international ice hockey tournament. Three teams participated in this qualification group. Turkey,Israel and Greece. The Turkish team didn't have a chance against Greece, losing 10-2. It was the same story with Israel, who they fell to 14-4. Although they failed to qualify the players were happy to demonstrate the sport in front of their home crowd.
In late November it was time for another qualification - this time for the 1993 D Pool. Turkey was to play two games against Croatia for the qualification. Nobody expected Turkey to have a chance against the Croats. The Turks lost 24-0 and 34-1. The only Turkish goal scorer was Nevzat Dogan. The Turkish champion Ankara BB only had seven players on the team and their best player Ömer Arasan didn't play.
Almost four years earlier Turkey had to play qualification games against Greece and Israel. They had the same opponents in the 1996 D Pool qualification series. Turkey lost to both Greece and Israel 19-0. The result against Greece was later reversed to a Turkish 5-0 victory because Greece had used ineligible players which meant that they were disqualified. But it wasn't enough for Turkey since they lost to Israel. Israel qualified and Turkey finished second.
At the 1998 D Pool, Turkey played in the same group as Bulgaria, Australia and New Zealand. They lost 20-0 to Bulgaria, 14-1 to Australia but beat New Zealand 4-3. Then in the relegation pool Turkey lost 12-3 to South Africa and 7-4 to Greece. The best Turkish scorer was Bekir Akgül who scored 5 of the 12 Turkish goals in the tournament and finished with 6 points (5+1) in 5 games. Emir Baran and Yucec Citak both had 2 goals in 5 games. Turkey's best player Ömer Arasan only had one assist. The Turkish players had problems with the high altitude in Krugersdorp (South Africa) and the thin air up there. Several of the Turkish players had to be given extra oxygen at the end of the games. It was however evident that the Turkish players had improved a lot since their international debut six years earlier.
Since 1998 Turkey has bounced between the Division II (C Pool) and Division III (D Pool) levels. Turkey won gold on home ice at the Division III World Championship in 2012 (Erzurum) and 2016 (Istanbul). The hosts went undefeated on both occasions.
Some of the best Turkish players of all-time have been: Ömer Arasan, Fahri Pasli, Bekir Akgül, Cagan Köse, Argün Türe, Nevzat Dogan, Oguz Cekmeceligil, Yücel Citak, Serhat Altinci, Erol Kahraman, Andy Koçoğlu, Serdar Semiz, Emrah Özmen, Yusuf Halil, Fikri Atali, Cengiz Akyıldız and Göker Isik.
The women's national team first appeared on the international scene in 2007, playing in Division IV of the IIHF World Women's Championships. They returned to compete in 2008 and have participated annually since 2011.
The junior national team first participated in the IIHF World U20 Championships in 1998, finishing in eighth and last place in Pool D. Turkey has exclusively played in the lowest tier of the world juniors (Pool D/Division III), and their best finish was third in Division III in 2003 and 2006.
Special thanks to Patrick H. for supplying information on this country.
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