TOKYO – Before the IIHF Council election was conducted, the outgoing members were honoured and four long-time members named IIHF Life Member by the IIHF General Congress.
IIHF Vice President Shoichi Tomita from Japan was the longest-serving member on the old IIHF Council whose mandate ends on Sunday. Tomita served the Council for 34 years and has been a Vice President for 18 years. It is in his honour that the Congress is staged in his hometown of Tokyo and in Asia for the first time ever.
“I don't cry when I say good-bye. I did every effort for ice hockey,” Tomita said. “We were only few Asian nations when I was elected, now we are 17 countries. Ice hockey is my life and I will never quit before I die.”
Tomita has also been happy about the Congress in his native city so far. “It is well organized and people enjoy Tokyo. That’s most important,” he said.
Two out of the three Vice Presidents are retiring from the Council, the other being Murray Costello from Canada, who served on the Council for 14 years.
“We are a family, and the reason we’re a family is that we share a childhood passion for the game,” Costello said. “Looking out over the people [in the Congress room] I see many great stories. Keep the childhood love for hockey. When it comes to an end, it’s time for a new generation.”
One of his many anecdotes about people in the room was a little-known trivia fact. Frederick Edmund Meredith, the great-grandfather of outgoing Council member Frederick Meredith, won three Stanley Cups as the President of the Montreal Victorias in the late 1890s.
Both Merediths have their hockey background and that their lawyer’s profession in common. That’s what Meredith was known for during his 18 years on the Council. He’s credited for his work with the Statutes & Bylaws and his expertise on European Union regulations.
In his speech he explained why this work that can be viewed as “dry” gave him so much satisfaction.
“It comes from two things. First from working with people and receiving friendship and support from them,” Meredith said and added: “I’m proud to be part of the development and the success we have had in this area.”
Ernest Aljancic leaves the Council after not being nominated by the Slovenian Ice Hockey Federation following a change in leadership. He was on the Council for nine years.
After a career as a player and as a former President of the Slovenian IIHF member, Aljancic said a third part of his life began.
“Now I’m 67 and I’m ready to work and I wish to stay in ice hockey,” he said. “My new challenge is to work with the Balkan development group.”
Tomita, Costello, Meredith and Aljancic were named IIHF Life Members for their contribution towards international ice hockey.
Other outgoing IIHF Council members are Juraj Siroky from Slovakia, who did not run and became an IIHF Auditor, Alexander Medvedev from Russia, who was not nominated by the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia, and Monique Scheier-Schneider from Luxembourg, who was not re-elected.
Johnny Baumann, Kai Hietarinta and Hans Dobida are outgoing IIHF Auditors. Baumann was named Honorary Member after 14 years in his function. Hietarinta and Dobida have already been named Life Members as former long-time Council members.