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Divers compete in ice hockey world championship underwater March 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Sports.

The lake of Weissensee in southern Austria hosted an unusual sporting event this weekend, with divers taking part in the first-ever ice-hockey world championship – underwater ice-hockey, that is.

Eight international teams from Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, competed under 30 centimetres of ice in two-degree Celsius water and without oxygen tanks.

The players, decked out in wetsuits, masks and flippers, chased a styrofoam puck around a “rink” six metres wide and eight metres long, having to resurface every 30 seconds for air.

Each game was made up of three periods, according to ice hockey rules, but playing time was reduced to 10 minutes from the usual 20 and a 10-minute break was afforded between periods.

“The event was a huge success, 611 television stations from around the world will be broadcasting pictures,” co-organiser Hannes Thomasberger said, adding that it would be held again during at least the next three years.

In the final, Finland defeated Austria to finish first, while Slovakia placed third.

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