Right after Rene Fasel, Murray Costello is the second-most important man of the International Ice Hockey Federation and these days he is to be found in Pardubice, where he is watching the Inline Hockey World Championship. Although it’s not his first visit to the Czech Republic, it’s his first time at a tournament of this importance for inline hockey.
According to the 77-year-old Canadian, the best part of inline for the IIHF is connection to new countries. “It gives us a presence in the southern hemisphere. One of our biggest problems is that we operate primarily in the northern hemisphere and when you go below the equator there is an entirely opposite season,” he describes. “Inline gives us a bridge to get our organization to that part of the world. As a matter of fact, there are more and more demands for a qualification tournament, for more countries to get in. Brazil, Argentina or Chile are especially interesting to me,” Costello adds.
A Canadian hockey player, who even played 163 games in the NHL, Costello knows that inline has to separate from the ice rink. “There has to be a separation, inline can never become a full-body contact game. Of course, there is still some contact, but much less. You can’t go down on that surface and slide like on the ice and they don’t wear the same equipment,” says Costello. “But hockey is hockey, though these two will always be two separate brands of it, it will still be hockey. Some coaches in ice hockey would make the argument that inline is bad for their player, but then again some like the opportunity for their players to improve their technique.