Ice Hockey UK referee Stefan Hogarth has become the latest UK official to represent the country at a IIHF World Championship tournament this season.

Hogarth spent last week in Sarajevo at the Division III qualification tournament.

It was a unique tournament as it featured hosts Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United Arab Emirates and two newcomers to the IIHF World Championship structure, Kuwait and Turkmenistan.

At their first time of trying, Turkmenistan emerged as winners of the round-robin tournament, earning them promotion to Division III next season.

The venue for the tournament was the Zetra Olympic Hall in Sarajevo, which was used for ice hockey at the 1984 Olympic Games.

The building was almost completely destroyed in 1992 during the Bosnian War, but was later rebuilt with financial assistance from the International Olympic Committee in 1997.

“The officials received amazing hospitality from the Bosnian Ice Hockey Association during what was undoubtedly a successful tournament for them,” said Hogarth.

“Crowd numbers were in the thousands for games featuring the home nation, promoting great exposure for the sport in that region.

“I would like to thank everyone at Ice Hockey UK for their ongoing support and for providing me with yet another opportunity to represent them at international level.

“The officiating team for the tournament comprised of officials from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Ukraine.

“Our supervisor was Canadian Bob Nadin who will be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame later this year after an incredible 45 years’ service to the international federation, both on and off ice.

“Receiving guidance from someone with such a wealth of experience during the tournament was invaluable and will have undoubtedly had a positive impact on my ongoing development as a referee.”

Photo credit: Esad Mulabegovic.