Year: 2023 (Page 1 of 8)

The historic Spengler Hockey Cup is being played in Davos: Ambri Piotta dreams of an encore

Source: Verbano News

The oldest invitational tournament in the world (it was born in 1923) kicks off on Boxing Day. Six teams at the start including Team Canada, the Ticino biancoblu surprisingly won the 2022 edition and will try to repeat themselves

On the afternoon of Boxing Day , one of the most fascinating events in the world of European ice hockey kicks off , the historic Spengler Cup – or Spengler Cup – which is played every year in Davos, in the Canton of Grisons. The first edition dates back to 1923 and was invented – in fact – by Dr. Carl Spengler, whose name it takes.

The Spengler is not a championship or even a normal tournament between club teams which are the vast majority. However, participation is by invitation (it is the oldest tournament of this type in the world), allows the registered teams to strengthen their staff with loans from other companies and also sees a particular formation such as Team Canada at the start . Which obviously is not the Canadian national team but a selection of Canadian players playing in the European championships.

In short, a hybrid which however allows us to offer a great hockey spectacle and give fans a series of interesting matches in a period – between Christmas and New Year – where national tournaments are sometimes on pause.

There are six participating teams for each edition (until recently there were five) and six is ​​also the number of hockey sticks that make up the current trophy (in the opening photo). One of these is always the host Davos who, however, has not won the cup since 2006. In the 2023 edition, in addition to the Grisons yellow-blues and Team Canada, the Finns of KalPa Kuopio (winners in ’18), the Czechs of Dynamo Pardubice will also participate , the Swedes of Frölunda and the Ticinese of Ambrì Piotta.


The presence of Ambrì is special : it is one of the two great Ticino clubs (the other is Lugano: the rivalry between the two is very heated), boasts numerous fans even among Italian (and Varese) fans and is even the reigning champion . In fact, Ambrì Piotta won the 2022 edition not without surprise, beating Sparta Prague in the shootout final (i.e. penalties) to the delight of the thousands of Leventina fans who flocked to Davos. The decisive goal was scored by Inti Pestoni, one of the symbolic players of the current Ambrì. For the white and blue club, little accustomed to triumphs in its long history, it was a truly historic success even if the Spengler, due to its invitational nature, is not considered an official trophy. But it equally gives prestige to those who conquer it.

The blue and whites then return to Davos as reigning champions and are placed in the group with Pardubice and KalPa and will play the opening match on Boxing Day against the Czechs. After the two matches for each team in the group, the direct elimination matches will begin on December 29th which will culminate on New Year’s Eve with the final which will start at 12.10 pm .

Taking a look at the roll of honour,  Italy appears with five successes  but in prehistoric times: the  Rossoneri Devils  of Milan won twice in the pre-war period in 1934 and ’34 and made it three in 1950; in ’53 and ’54  HC Milano Inter won instead . Then nothing more and the level of Italian hockey is almost always a step below what is seen at Spengler. Among the  Ticino teams,  Ambrì’s victory in 2022 was the first achieved by the canton that borders Italy: Lugano has played three finals (in 2015 and ’16 they lost in the final to Team Canada) but without ever winning the trophy.

The matches are produced and broadcast by Swiss state TV and relaunched in around thirty countries by individual local TV stations (most of Europe, Israel and Canada) but there are no Italian broadcasters in the list . Spengler, however, has its own YouTube channel where you can watch the matches with commentary in English.

Kenya’s Ice Lions Dream Of Roaring Big At Olympic Games In Near Future

Action between Ice Lions and Team World at the 2nd edition of the Jamhuri Cup at Panari Sky Centre

By Omondi OnyattaCapital Sports

For many, the mention of ice hockey brings to mind the likes of United States, Canada, Nordic countries as well as Russia where the sport is as popular as football and athletics are in Kenya.

However, the sport is increasingly taking root in the country with stakeholders determined to tap in as many talents as possible and transform the country into a powerhouse in Africa and beyond.

Tim Colby is the coach of the national team, Ice Lions, and has been working closely with other stakeholders to grow the sport within the country and achieve the ultimate dream of Kenya one day gracing the Olympic Games.

The Canadian describes it as an exciting task that has sometimes encountered headwinds but is nonetheless soldiering on relentlessly.

“We’ve been on ice for five or six years except for the Covid period in the last couple of years. We started out slow…we had like new players who joined and then Covid hit. That really set us back a little bit,” Colby says.

He adds: “So, we picked up again recently. We were off the ice for quite some time for financial reasons. We couldn’t afford it…ice hockey is very expensive. We are back now, we have some funding to keep us going for a few months. I think we are going to see a lot of progress with the team.”

Part of the master plan to take Kenyan ice hockey to the next level is to compete in international matches in addition to training camps outside the country.

“Over the next year or two, it looks like we are going to have international trips. We have been invited to various places, including South Africa, who have a national team who will be competing in the Olympics qualifiers. That is our aim as Ice Lions…to qualify for the Olympics eventually,” the coach explains.

Dwelling on these international trips, Colby is optimistic they will introduce the players on what is required to compete at the highest level of the sport.

“We have some teams in North Africa…Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia…they are made up of players who play in North Africa. Then we have South Africa…so if we get down to South Africa next year for training, they have a full Olympic sized ice rink. We have a smaller ice here so we play three against three plus goalies…there they play five against five, which is the international standard,” Colby explains.

He adds: “We are hoping to get down there and do some training, which will be a great experience for the team. They have a strong program in South Africa and it’s a good model for us to learn how to organize and better play.”

Equally important for the growth of ice hockey in Kenya is training programs’ for local coaches to impart them with up-to-date knowledge of the game in line with world class standards.

“We can learn a lot from the South Africans and also from the North Americans who have offered to host us. If we can get over there, we can have some of the Kenyans trained as certified coaches. There are programs’ you can train in Canada and the US in particular and become a certified coach,” Colby explains.

He adds: “I was a certified coach in Canada but now we need the Kenyan coaches to step up…and they are doing it. They are training our players in the youth development programs’ but it’s a complex game so it is important for our coaches to be trained in certified international.”

Collaboration with NHL

Key to the success of this multi-pronged strategy is partnerships with public and private entities to enable the team acquire the necessary resources.

Much has been witnessed of the impact of the National Basketball Association (NBA) activities on the continent in the past decade and Colby is optimistic that the same could amount out of a collaboration with the National Hockey League (NHL).

“We have started some discussions with them…the professional league in North America. They are very interested…they didn’t know about ice hockey in Kenya or anywhere in Africa. They were very surprised and very happy when we sent them some videos and pictures. One team has reached out and they may come here when the NHL season is over to meet us and talk about a partnership,” the coach reveals.

The potential collaboration with NHL would resolve one of the challenges impeding the growth of ice hockey in the country, which is lack of regular matches in the national team.

Colby attributes that to the lack of facilities to play on, with Panari Sky Centre the only one available in the East and Central Africa region.

“Here in Kenya, there is only one ice rink. In Canada, where I grew up, there are thousands of ice rinks and every city has several so you can always find ice time to practice. This is a big challenge over here in Kenya,” he says.

His sentiments are echoed by national team player Arnold Mburu who adds that there are not much opponents they can test themselves against regularly.

“The matches are not as often as other sports mainly because of the unavailability of other teams to play with because as of right now we are the only team in East and Central Africa. The foreigners who come to play against us are expats, diplomats who come from all over the world to give us a challenge,” Mburu says.

He adds: “It is also difficult for most of us to find opportunities to train and play because ice time is pretty expensive. You can’t just have a game every month because it requires funds so it is challenging.”

Mburu is crossing his fingers that the government will come on board and support the growth of the sport, including construction of more facilities.

“Many people aren’t aware that ice hockey exists in Kenya. I’d love for the government to dip its hand in ice hockey. I’d love for fans to come out in their numbers and watch our matches. Hopefully, in the future, we might go to the Olympics,” he says.

His coach reveals they have made overtures to the government via the Sports Cabinet Secretary, Ababu Namwamba, to aid them in their plan to grow the sport.

“We are looking for a longer term partnership, including with the government of Kenya. We have approached the CS and his team about getting some sponsorship and support from the ministry,” Colby says.

Plenty of potential

The Ice Lion’s latest match was last Saturday against Team World to who they lost 12-2 in Pre-Jamhuri Day tie at the Panari Centre.

Commenting on the result, Colby believes the odds were always against his side considering the caliber of their opponents, most of who have played their sport since their childhood.

“I warned Team Kenya that they had to be sharp today because these guys want to win badly. They played really well but Team Kenya we were a bit flat today and you can’t afford to do that against an experienced team some of who are former ice hockey professional players. Today was not a good day for Team Kenya but it is a good lesson…you learn more from losing,” the coach observes.

Jukka Korhonen, who was part of the victorious team, feels their opponents showed them a lot of respect on the day but is nonetheless positive about the trajectory of the sport in the country.

“In today’s game, they had too much respect for us. Normally on Wednesdays, they usually compete well against us. However, ice hockey in Kenya has grown over time…the boys are really interested in the sport. It’s always fun to play over here, I really enjoy it,” Korhonen says.

He admits he is in awe of Kenyans’ physicality and believes the team can go places if they work on their technical aspects of the game.

“Many players are spending hours in ice skating, which tells me they are very interested in the sport. What they have is enormous speed on ice…now what they need is more technical aspects and more ice time and we will see them in a few years competing all over Africa and whatever competitions,” he says.

Looking onward

Reflecting on his journey on the ice rink, Mburu says he has enjoyed playing ice hockey and does not regret exchanging basketball shoes in favour of skates.

“Ice hockey is fun and exciting. I find it way more intense and more of a team sport. I played basketball in high school and at the University of Eldoret but I find ice hockey to be more fun,” he says.

Colby is hopeful more will follow Mburu’s cue and join the sport in droves – a process that is not rocket science to anyone interested.

“We have a youth program for training so once they can skate fairly well they can come out on our Sunday youth training program. We have two age divisions…we even have 7-8 year old’s that come out to play. You first need to learn how to skate. You can come out to Panari, the ice rink is really good. Come out and start training and then graduate to ice hockey with the Ice Lions training program ” he explains.

In a football-mad country that has enjoyed unparalleled success in athletics, ice hockey may seem like a fish among sharks in an ocean.

However, stakeholders are not about to develop cold feet in their quest to grow it into a major sport in Kenya and beyond.

Anurag Thakur handed a strategic blueprint for development of ice hockey in Ladakh

india ice hockey

Source: Yes Punjab

New Delhi, Dec 7, 2023- Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports on Thursday unveiled a strategic Blueprint for the development of Ice Hockey in the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.

Royal Enfield unveiled a strategic blueprint for the development of Ice Hockey in the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.

Titled Game Changer, the blueprint document, prepared by Royal Enfield, will serve as a roadmap for the holistic development of the sport in Ladakh and is a step towards realising the ambition of fielding an Indian Ice Hockey contingent at the 2042 Winter Olympics.

The blueprint was handed over to Thakur in the presence of advocate Tashi Gyaltsan, Chief Executive Councillor, Leh, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Mohd Jaffer Akhoon, Chief Executive Councillor, Kargil, LAHDC and Ravinder Kumar (IAS), Secretary to Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh and Department of Youth & Sports, Administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh by Bidisha Dey, Executive Director of Eicher Group Foundation, the CSR and Sustainability arm of Royal Enfield, at an event in the national capital.

“Today’s development is very exciting for our nation. I would like to congratulate the Administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh and Royal Enfield, for the creation of this Blueprint for the Development of Ice Hockey in Ladakh.

“This blueprint is a Game Changer and will certainly pave the way to enable an Indian Ice Hockey contingent to participate in the 2042 Winter Olympics,” said Anurag Singh Thakur, who has also written the foreword of this potentially game-changing document.

With more than 90% of India’s Ice Hockey players hailing from Ladakh winter sports is emerging as a promising avenue towards building resilience and generating livelihood opportunities—particularly for the youth. It can also simultaneously boost winter tourism, potentially transforming Ladakh into a coveted winter sports destination.

Commissioned by the Administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh, Royal Enfield collaborated with the European Business and Technical Centre (EBTC) and all relevant local, national and international stakeholders to develop this Blueprint, shaping the future of Ice hockey and winter sports in India.

Reviewed by and created with inputs from the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), this holistic document covers requirements for equipment and infrastructure, scouting and nurturing local talent, conducting training camps with the involvement of international coaches and professional governance, among other things.

While the document has been commissioned by the Administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh and has been created to develop the sport in Ladakh, it is not limited in its scope. It can be used as a template for developing the sport in other Himalayan states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. (Agency)

Bahrain Might Be Getting a Renewable Energy Complex With an Ice Arena and It Looks Pretty Cool

Source: localbh

A UAE-based company named W.E.T.E.R, has unveiled an idea for Bahrain and is proposing an amazing combination of wind energy and an ice arena! It’s a project that brings together sustainability and sports.

In May 2023, the W.E.T.E.R project team presented their ideas to the authorities, economic planners, and construction professionals in Bahrain. Led by Mr. Abdullah Mohammed al-Qasemi, Chairman of the Bahrain ice hockey club, they shared technical and design materials for an electricity-generating building. But wait, there’s more!
In June 2023 The Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs saw the potential and wanted to take it up a notch by integrating the facility with an ice arena. The W.E.T.E.R project team, experts in wind energy and sustainable architecture, got to work and developed a fantastic design. They seamlessly merged the power-generating building with the ice arena, creating a facility that honestly looks so cool. The Ministry of Youth and Sports now has the graphic drawings and other supporting materials in their hands. They’re carefully evaluating the proposal.

Bahrain is always showcasing its commitment to a greener future in the most remarkable ways! To stay updated on the progress of this remarkable project, be sure to visit their website here.

Three victories for Poles and a triumph in the Independence Cup tournament

Poles win the Independence Cup

Source: Kurier Szczecinski

The Independence Cup hockey tournament ended at ArcelorMittal Park in Sosnowiec, in which the Poles defeated Estonia, the Latvian youth team and Lithuania and confidently won the international event. The honorary patronage of the event was held by the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda. 

Poland – Estonia 7:3 (2:1, 3:0, 2:2)

Goals: Ciura 1, Wanat 15, Jeziorski 23, Jeziorski 27, Komorski 29, Łyszczarczyk 49, Krężołek 57 – Rooba 17, Arrak 45, Lovkov 52.

Poland – Latvia U-20 5:1 (1:0, 2:0, 2:1)

Goals: Jeziorski 17, Dronia 25, Jeziorski 35, Ciura 48, Łyszczarczyk 58 – Stradnieks 43.

Poland – Lithuania 5:1 (1:0, 1:1, 3:0)

Goals: Smal 9, Łyszczarczyk 39, Jeziorski 46, Łyszczarczyk 52, Bukowski 52 – Gintautas 27.

 

ITALY WINS THE SÁRKÖZY TAMÁS MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT

National Teams of ice Hockey

 Italy won the Sárközy Tamás Memorial Tournament again , thanks to a 1-0 overtime score against Ukraine . Alex Trivellato scored the winning goal, while Marco De Filippo scored a shutout. The Azzurri therefore finished the tournament with three victories (two after the 60 minutes of regulation) and only one goal conceded.

 For coach Mike Keenan this is his first tournament win since taking over the Italian National men’s team. 

The national women’s team,
Le Azzurre, was involved in Krynica zdroj over the weekend for a double friendly match against Poland . Italy won a hard-fought first match, which ended 5-4 in overtime: a back-and-forth made up of comebacks and counter-comebacks, ending with Anna Callovini’s goal in extra time. In the second match, played on Saturday morning, a decidedly clearer victory for our girls, who won 6 – 1 thanks to Roccella’s two goals and goals from Mazzocchi, Niccolai, Engele and Palazzari.

The youth national teams
The U20s took to the ice in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, in a 4 Nations Tournament: after a 4-0 defeat against the home team, the Azzurrini reacted by imposing themselves with an excellent 5-4 win over France (two goals by De Luca and goals from Manganelli, Covelli and Larcher), while in the last outing against Slovenia another narrow success 3-2 over Slovenia was the result of goals from Larcher, Albis and Gschliesser.

Colombia repeats as Women’s Development Cup Champions

Source: IIHF.com

After making waves in the 2022 IIHF Women’s Development Cup by winning their first IIHF event, Colombia has successfully defended their championship win. The team defeated Argentina in the final 6-2.

Only 27 seconds into the first period, Lorena Pedraza blasted one past Argentinian goaltender Florencia Gutierrez Peydro to give the Colombians the early lead.

After assisting on the first goal, Maria Uribe bolstered Colombia’s lead when she sped out from deep in the Argentinian zone and ripped one past Gutierrez Peydro into the net.

However, Argentina would cut the deficit by one halfway through the first period. While applying pressure in the Colombian zone Alma Amegeiras got the puck past Ana Munevar as she was knocked down on the play.

Colombia responded in a big way before the end of the first period as Natalia Lugo scored twice in a span of 3:40.

After a scoreless second period, Colombia added some assurance with two power-play goals by Christina Kampa and Uribe.  Rounding out the scoring in the final was Argentina’s Abril Bendenelli with a power play goal.

Bronze Medal Game

In an exciting bronze medal game, that went down to the wire, Iran defeated Ireland 3-1.

After a scoreless first period, Dina Farzamnia gave Iran the lead in the second period. Elham Modirdehghan added insurance to Iran’s lead in the third. Ireland would cut the lead and pull within one on a score by forward Kaitlyn Morrison.

With the extra attacker out after pulling goaltender Sarah McFarland, Ireland could not tie the game.  Farzamnia scored into the empty net, her second of the game to secure the bronze for Iran.

Semi-Final and Preliminary Round

Columbia punched their ticket to the gold medal game after earning an 8-1 win over Ireland in the semi-finals.  One of the highlights of this semi-final was the hat-trick effort from forward Susanna Perez. Uribe chipped in with three assists. For Ireland, Ana Capcarrere scored while Mima Markicevic added an assist.

As for Argentina, they squeaked by Iran 2-1 to gain their championship berth.  In this semi-final, Iara Haiek had a short-handed goal while Mila Lutteral got the game-winner in the second period for Argentina.  Meanwhile, Iran’s Azamossadat scored on the power play.

In the preliminary round, Colombia was atop the standings with a 3-0-0-0 record.  Argentina was next at 2-0-0-1.  Iran ended up with a 1-0-0-2 record while Ireland was 0-0-0-3.

DEUTSCHLAND CUP Recap

National Teams of Ice Hockey

Successful title defense! At this year’s Deutschland Cup in Landshut, the German national ice hockey team was able to successfully defend the title and win the traditional tournament for the tenth time.

The Deutschland Cup was held for the first time this year in the city of Landshut. In addition to the men’s tournament, a four-nation tournament for the women’s national teams was also held at the same time. While the German men secured the title with wins against Denmark (4:1) and Austria (5:3), the German women ended up in third place. 

In the end, the German boys were able to defend their title despite a tie on points with the teams from Denmark and Slovakia. Because of the tie on points, a new table was calculated between the games of the three teams with the same points. Since the German team ended up having the better goal difference in this new table, national coach Harry Kreis’ boys won the tournament.

The Czech female hockey players are having a dream start to the season.  At the tournament in Landshut, Germany, Czech women won all three games with a score of 17-2 and in addition to winning the cup in Germany, the women also won the  summer tournament in Finland.

Four Louth players on Irish ice hockey team travelling to Poland

Zsofia Bartl, Sonya McEneaney, Lorna Hoey and Beatty Hosgood from Dundalk who play with the Irish Senior Women’s Ice Hockey team

By Margaret RoddyIrish Independent

Four players from Louth are one the Irish team that flies out to compete in the 2023 International Ice Hockey Foundation Development Cup in Poland next month.

Sonya McEneaney and Lorna Hoey from Dundalk began playing ice-hockey when the ill-fated Ice Dome opened in the town, in 2007, with Beatty Hosgood joining in 2008 and Zsofia Bartl from Hungry coming on board more recently.

Both Sonya and Lorna played with the Dundalk Lady Bulls team and remember the excitement when the Ice Dome hosted the International Ice Hockey Federation Division III World Championships in 2007.

Since the Dome, the only one in Ireland, closed in 2010, they, and all other Irish ice hockey players, must travel to Belfast, to the only ice-rink on the island.

“When the rink in Dundalk closed, we kept a team going through roller hockey and we train out of Belfast,” says Sonya.

It requires a lot of dedication and Sonya admits that they are relatively lucky that Belfast is just an hour’s journey away – some players have to travel much further.

“It’ takes a lot of dedication and everything is self-financed as we don’t get any funding,” says Sonya.

“Our girls come from all over Ireland, Kilkenny, Cork, Dublin and Galway,” says Lorna. “We’ve also got some players who are living in London and France, and one girl goes back home just to train.”

Sonya, who captained the Irish Women’s team when they played in the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division V in 2011, explains that they can no longer compete in the World Championship as Ireland doesn’t have an ice rink for them to play on.

Instead, they are competing in the Development Cup along with other countries similarly lacking facilities and will come up against Poland Iran, Argentina and Colombia from November 6 to 12 in the Polish city of Krynica-Zdroj.

The Irish team travelled to Kuwait in 2022, where they finished fifth.

While the players are very excited about representing their country on the world stage, they have to bear the costs of the travel and accommodation associated with taking part in the competition.

Sonya, Lorna and Zsofia set up GoFundMe pages to raise funds to cover these costs and are very grateful to the support they have received so far.

They are looking forward to travelling to Poland, taking part in the competition, and playing on ice.

New Coach for the National Ice Hockey Team after Previous One Goes AWOL

Source: Hungary Today

The Hungarian Ice Hockey Federation has found an in-house solution to replace Kevin Constantine, who left over the summer despite his ongoing contract. Keeping his current position, acting professional director Don MacAdam will now also work as the federation Head Coach. MacAdam will be assisted by Balázs Ladányi, who is currently in charge of the U20 team, reported Magyar Nemzet.

Kevin Constantine has put the Hungarian Ice Hockey Federation (MJSZ) in a very awkward situation by taking a job in Canada despite his contract still being valid this summer. At the same time, the American professional has also put his club team in an uncomfortable position by leaving. The MJSZ took legal action and Constantine did not avoid prosecution. The Western Hockey League (WHL), a member organization of Canada’s top junior hockey league, banned Constantine as head coach of the Wenatchee Wild for two years for what the official wording described as discriminatory and derogatory remarks. The Constantine chapter is over once and for all in Hungarian hockey, with the MJSZ announcing on its website that Don MacAdam will take over as head coach of the men’s national team until the end of the season.

MacAdam is no stranger to the hockey world. In Hungary, he made his name as head coach of Romanian team Csíkszereda, in 2019, he was asked to become the professional director of youth development at Ferencváros, and from 2021, he was appointed as the development director of the MJSZ, later the sports director.

Levente Sipos, the general secretary of the MJSZ, said that they had searched for a possible successor to Constantine for a long time, but the professionals they had chosen could not take on the job of Hungarian captain because of their club commitments.

We decided to appoint Don because he has been working in Hungarian hockey for many years, so he knows the players and coaches, the potential, the goals, and the challenges of the sport. He has a wealth of experience and expertise, having worked in the NHL, written books, and taught,

Don MacAdam (b. 1950) played hockey in the lower divisions of the North American leagues and was under 30 when he became a coach. He first became an assistant coach at the University of New Brunswick in 1976, and then head coach for eight years, being named coach of the year in his first season. He taught and coached in Canada, becoming assistant coach of the Detroit Red Wings in 1986, assisting Jacques Demers. After three seasons with Edmonton. He also joined Oilers farm team in the AHL and won a championship gold ring as a member of the 1990 Stanley Cup-winning Oilers staff. It was also the club where the most famous hockey player of all time, Wayne Gretzky, played, although the Great One was no longer with the Oilers, joining the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. MacAdam spent the 1990s in the AHL and the 2000s in the ECHL, and coached in Japan for two seasons. He has been working in Europe since 2014.

The Hungarian national ice hockey team was among the elite at the World Championships this year, but was eliminated in a huge battle. In 2024, they will try to qualify for the Division I/A World Championship, which will take place from April 28 to May 4, and will include Hungary and hosts Italy, Slovenia, Romania, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, with two teams making the elite.

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