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1913 English Team

A photograph said to be of the English team at the 1913 tournament. In reality, the photo was taken in January 1891 during Bury Fen Bandy Club's time in the Netherlands.

The 1913 European Bandy Championship was a falsely reported tournament that was claimed to have taken place in Davos, Switzerland, at the Eisstadion Davos in February 1913, involving eight teams. The winner of the tournament was said to be England.[1]

Background and participating teamsEdit

According to the Wikipedia article on the 1913 Championship:

Modern bandy originated in England and the first rules were published in 1882. It soon became a popular sport in several Central and Northern European countries as well as in Russia. Since 1901 bandy was played in the Scandinavian Nordic Games,[2] which was the first international multi-sport event focused on winter sports. The rules differed between countries. Most popular was the 7 vs 7 game but Sweden, Finland and Russia preferred the 11 vs 11 rules. In some countries, like Latvia, bandy was played 9 vs 9.[3]

1913 European Championships was arranged by the 1908 established International Ice Hockey Federation. Matches were played with 7 men teams. Number of participating teams was eight. Since Sweden and Russia followed the rules of 11 men, they rejected the invitation and competed in the 1913 Nordic Games in Stockholm.[3] The German team consisted mostly of the members of Leipziger SC, which was supposed to play in Stockholm as well, but as many of its players were selected to the German national team, they decided to travel to Davos.[4]

The 1913 tournament was the peak for bandy in all of the participating nations, as the outburst of World War I put an end to the international competitions. After the war was over, International Olympic Committee included ice hockey to the 1920 Summer Olympics instead of bandy. This was because bandy was totally unknown in North America[3] and because Antwerp had an ice hockey-sized indoor arena. The IOC decision caused the decline of bandy in Central Europe and Great Britain as the bandy players switched to ice hockey. After the 1920s, bandy was only played in the Soviet Union, Estonia, Latvia and three of the Nordic countries. In the 1930s, bandy also disappeared from Estonia and Latvia (it made a return there when they no longer were independent countries, but Soviet Republics). It was completely or almost forgotten in England, Italy, France, Switzerland and Belgium, which all took part at the 1913 European Championships. Austria, Hungary, Germany, the Netherlands and Slovakia (in 1913 a part of Austria-Hungary) were countries where bandy survived longer, well into the 1920s.[4]

Participating teams

Debunking the mythEdit

Extensive research has been done by prominent hockey historians in local Swiss libraries, searching for information on this competition. After perusing countless newspapers and other publications, it can be asserted that there are no contemporary sources that refer to a 1913 European Bandy Championship taking place in Davos, Switzerland. At the time, international bandy and ice hockey matches received a fair amount of press in Switzerland. The utter lack of coverage on this tournament is the first strike against its existence.

There is an interesting quote from the Finskt idrottsblad (a Finnish-Swedish sports newspaper) from January 24, 1913: "VÄRLDSMÄSTERSKAPET I BANDY, som tidigare var afsedt att försiggå i Stockholm vid Nordiska spelen, har man numera beslutit förlägga till Davos eller St Moritz i Schweiz..." This roughly translates to: "Bandy World Championship which were supposed to take place in Nordic Games in Stockholm, is now supposed to take place in Davos or St. Moritz in Switzerland."

Another quote from the Suomen Urheilulehti mentioned that Leipzig had sent a telegram a few days before the start of the Nordic Games tournament, stating they would not be coming. The article also referenced the fact that "almost all other foreign participants" had already withdrawn from the tournament.

These quotes substantiate the claims that Leipziger SC withdrew from the Nordic Games tournament and that a World (European) Bandy Championship was intended to be played in Switzerland in 1913. However, the quotations do not account for the lack of sources in existence about the tournament itself.

The next reference to the 1913 European Bandy Championship was not until 1975, when Swedish bandy historian Åke Dunér mentioned the tournament in a book that was published by the Swedish Bandy Federation (Bandy genom åren; in English, Bandy through the years). Mr. Dunér provided no sources to back up his statements, so his writings must also be taken at face value.

The lack of bandy being played in the countries of France, Belgium, and to a lesser extent, Italy, at the time also points to the dubious nature of this tournament. The game never caught on in the former two countries, as indoor ice rinks were opened in the 1890s, making ice hockey a more natural fit. In Italy, bandy/ice hockey had been played for several years, but the sport did not become overly popular until the artificial rink (the Palazzo del Ghiaccio) opened in Milan in the 1920s.

There are no contemporary sources from any of the other seven nations said to be participating in the tournament, referring to any games taking place, proffering scores or other details, etc. The English press did not write about their "champion" squad, whereas the British ice hockey team that won the 1910 European Championship was written about extensively at home (the 1910 tournament, held in nearby Les Avants, Switzerland, also received plenty of coverage in local Swiss newspapers).

The bottom line is, no game results, rosters, pictures, or exact dates from the tournament are in existence. Some weight must be given to the 2014 "100th year anniversary tournament" organized by the Federation of International Bandy. However, the FiB presents no new sources verifying the existence of the 1913 tournament, and it appears the federation fell victim to believing the long-perpetuated myth as well.

A preponderance of evidence points to the fact that the 1913 European Bandy Championship was never held, and that years of shoddy research led to the fabrication of the tournament's existence. Unless any previously unknown contemporary resources come to light, there is no reasonable way to assert that the tournament was played.

PostscriptEdit

The myth of the 1913 European Bandy Championship illustrates the importance of careful and meticulous research, and using contemporary sources whenever possible. It is easy for erroneous information to become prevalent on the Internet, and once it gains a foothold on numerous websites, correcting the bogus details can prove challenging.

The fact that the world governing body of bandy went so far as to organize a tournament celebrating the 100th anniversary of the non-existent 1913 European Championship, shows the dangers of relying heavily upon poorly researched material without contemporary sources to back it up.

All researchers make mistakes, it is human nature, especially when the language barrier is involved. But with due carefulness and diligence, such errors can be limited, if never eliminated completely.

2014 TournamentEdit

Unlike the phantom 1913 championship, the unofficial 2014 four-nation European championship staged at the Eisstadion Davos is confirmed to have been played, as results were reported both by the Federation of International Bandy and the Dutch Bandy Bond. Four nations - Hungary, the Czech Republic, Germany, and the Netherlands - participated in the tournament, which was won by the Dutch.

Results
Date Time (UTC+1) Match Result Arena
6 January 2014 09:00 Flag of Hungary.svg.png HungaryFlag of Germany.svg.png Germany 7–2 Eisstadion Davos
10:15 Flag of the Czech Republic.svg.png Czech RepublicFlag of the Netherlands.svg.png Netherlands 1–4 Eisstadion Davos
12:00 Flag of the Czech Republic.svg.png Czech RepublicFlag of Hungary.svg.png Hungary 4–10 Eisstadion Davos
13:15 Flag of Germany.svg.png GermanyFlag of the Netherlands.svg.png Netherlands 0–5 Eisstadion Davos
15:30 Flag of Germany.svg.png GermanyFlag of the Czech Republic.svg.png Czech Republic 4–9 Eisstadion Davos
17:00 Flag of Hungary.svg.png HungaryFlag of the Netherlands.svg.png Netherlands 1–3 Eisstadion Davos

ReferencesEdit

  1. Bandy: A concise history of the extreme sport
  2. Nordiska Spelen Bandytips (Swedish). Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 (in Russian). Bandynet.ru. 30 September 2011. http://bandynet.ru/node/22115. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bandy World Map Bandytips. Retrieved 6 January 2014.