Canadians Lead The Way In Italian Ice Hockey LeagueFitness Gear & Equipment
The Lega Italiana Hockey Ghiaccio is Italy’s version of the National Hockey League. The calibre, of course, isn’t quite the same. Many of the players are North American and have played in the AHL, ECHL and CHL. In the case of Ralph Intranuovo, he brings 22 games of NHL experience to the table.
For the 2010-11 season, the LIHG consisted of nine teams, mostly located in the north of Italy. Val Pusteria was the top team over the league’s regular season schedule. Each team plays a total of forty games during the regular season. Val Pusteria won 26 of their forty and ended up seven points ahead of second place HC Asiago.
However, the top two teams would meet in the playoff finals with Asiago exacting revenge to become Campione D’Italia. In the nine team league, eight teams make the playoffs. The playoff format is consistent with North American ice hockey with the 1st playing 8th, 2nd playing 7th, 3rd playing 6th and 4th playing fifth. Each series is the standard North American format of a best of seven series. The unlucky ninth place team that didn’t make the LIHG playoffs was Cortina.
There is definitely a Canadian influence on the league. The top ten scorers during the regular season were from Canada. Fifteen of the top twenty were from Canada. Seven of the top twenty alone have graduated from the Ontario Hockey League.
The top point-getter in the LIHG was Rob Sirianni with 74 points in 40 games. Sirianni is from Alberta, Canada and played his second year with Val Pusteria. The top goal scorer was Mac Faulkner with 31. Faulkner is from the Toronto area and finished his second year with Alleghe.
As far as goaltending is concerned, five of the top ten goalies are from Canada. The Number one goalie in the league was Matt Zaba. Matt is from Saskatchewan and played University hockey in the U.S.A. Zaba was an eighth round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and got to play in one game with the NHL’s New York Rangers in 2009-10.
HC Asiago won the LIHG championship for the second year in a row. Before that, HC Bolzano was the winner for two consecutive years. Hockey is actually quite a tradition in Northern Italy with the championship being contested since the 1924-25 season.
The Lega Italiana Hockey Ghiaccio actually consists of two tiers. The Serie A1 is the elite division that these nine teams competed in. The Serie A2 is a level lower and is also populated with a number of Canadian players.