Monday, November 17, 2014

It's Hockey Week!

This week is hockey week on Here We Go Again! We talk a lot about food and pasta and traveling and why we love Italy, but the whole reason that we're in Italy! So this week we're going to talk about that.

For those of you who don't know the back story, Ryan played hockey (and won the 2005 National Championship) at the University of Denver (and many places before that - he's been on skates since he was five!) which is where we met.

After three years at DU he signed a contract with the Anaheim Ducks, beginning his pro career. From 2007-2011 he played in the AHL and ECHL in North America. He lived in Portland, Maine; Augusta, Georgia; Des Moines, Iowa; Saratoga, New York and Victoria, British Columbia.

Then, in 2011, he signed his first contract with Cortina. We came here in September that year and fell in love with the town, made new friends and had tons of adventures - and we got engaged here! We both wanted to come back for another season, so we did, and that turned into a few more seasons and now we're in our fourth year in Cortina.

One thing that's interesting about European hockey is that no one really knows about it in North America. But hockey is not just for Canada (and Boston!). Cortina's team was founded in 1924 and is celebrating 90 years of hockey this season - longer than most NHL teams have been around!

 Cortina plays in the top Italian league, called Serie A. This year there are 12 teams in the league and each team is allowed 4 imports (players from a country other than Italy). Cortina has two Americans, one Canadian and one Slovakian. Players who are from North America but have their Italian passports don't count as imports, which is one way to get around the import rule. (Cortina has one player like this, and another team in the league has about eight). All home games are played at the Stadio Olimpico del Ghiaccio,which was used during the 1956 winter Olympics. It's a small rink by Norther American standards, but the fans are loud and spirited.

There are many leagues and teams all over Europe; Austria, Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Croatia, Slovenia and France all have teams. The top Russian league, the KHL, is making a push to rival the NHL in talent. There is hockey in England, in New Zealand and even in Japan. But for now, we only know about Italian hockey - and so, next up on Thursday, is everything you always wanted to know about Italian ice hockey!