Category: North America (Page 1 of 8)

Chapman Hockey Coach Sam Uisprapassorn Leads Colombian National Team to Success, Shoots for NHL

Sam Uisprapassorn ’05 (center), assistant head coach of Chapman’s club hockey team, was a guest coach at the Anaheim Ducks’ development camp this summer.

By Staci Dumoski – Chapman University Newsroom

As a young hockey player, Sam Uisprapassorn was always told that he’d make a great coach. For a player who dreamed of being in the National Hockey League, that’s the kind of backhanded compliment that wasn’t always great to hear.

But now that Uisprapassorn is the head coach of the Colombian national hockey team and associate head coach for Chapman Hockey as well as in an NHL mentorship program, the idea of becoming a great coach seems like something that was always meant to be. 

Uisprapassorn, whose father is Thai and mother is Colombian, started playing hockey when he was 9 years old –  just about the time that Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky came to play for the Los Angeles Kings and popularized the sport in Southern California.

As a student majoring in public relations and advertising, he joined the hockey team at Chapman, where hockey is a club sport and the team plays at the nearby Anaheim Ice.

“We were really underground,” says Uisprapassorn about his undergraduate team. “But we had this cool little group of guys, and we would set up these exhibition games against other universities.”

His coaching career kicked off shortly after graduation, when he was approached by a friend who needed help coaching a peewee hockey team. Once he started coaching youth hockey, it didn’t take long for Uisprapassorn to end up back at Chapman, this time as an associate coach for a renewed and increasingly competitive hockey team.

Uisprapassorn has a day job in the solar industry, plus a growing business manufacturing golf balls, so coaching hockey has always been a side gig, one that wouldn’t have gone any further than Chapman Hockey if he hadn’t gotten curious about the world of international hockey. A little investigation led him to the Colombian national team, which had debuted in 2014.

Inspired by the connection with his family heritage, Uisprapassorn fired off an email, offering his help.

“It’s one of those emails that you send and you’re like, OK, I’ll never hear back from these people,” says Uisprapassorn.

But he did hear back. “They were getting ready to go to a tournament, and they called me maybe five weeks before and they’re, like, ‘Hi. We’re having a tournament and we need you to meet us in Mexico City,’” he says.

And so he went to Mexico City and, with Uisprapassorn as the new head coach, the Colombian team won the tournament.

“I knew I was going to have a mixed bag of players,” he says, just as he’d had working with the Chapman team. “I’m a keep-it-simple-stupid kind of person, and that’s how I approach coaching. Hockey is a simple game. You just put it in that net and keep it out of the one behind you. I took that approach with them, and lo and behold, we won. At that point, Mexico was ranked 33rd in the world, and we beat them in the championship game for our first Pan American Championship.”

After winning six international championships with the Colombian team, Uisprapassorn started to get noticed and recognized by people in the NHL. He was nominated to participate in the NHLCA BIPOC Coaches Program, an initiative that supports Black, indigenous and coaches of color in hockey, and this summer he was invited to participate as a guest coach at the Anaheim Ducks development camp.

“A year ago, if you had interviewed me, I would have told you I coach a team that’s so close to me and my heritage, and I coach at my alma mater. What else could you want? I always used to say, short of the [Los Angeles] Kings calling, I have my ideal job as a coach,” says Uisprapassorn.

Now, though, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get a shot at coaching in the NHL.

“Hockey made me the person that I am today,” he says. “I’m not a natural athlete. I had to work really hard to be a good skater. It’s not like I put on skates and I was whizzing down the ice like some kids can do.”

But persistence is one of his main character traits, he says, whether it’s getting into Chapman, getting ahead in his career or, now, pursuing success as a hockey coach. 

“In May I went to the coaches association. I said, ‘Look, I want to find a way, a path to possibly working in hockey as a coach on some sort of level,’” he says. “I basically used the line, ‘I’ll pour coffee in LA or Anaheim.’ I just want to get some experience under my belt at a higher level. I just want to help out, contribute, learn.”

As the 2022-23 NHL season kicks off this month, Uisprapassorn will be getting the experience he craves, under the mentorship of Dallas Eakins, head coach of the Anaheim Ducks. No matter how well the team does this season, you can bet he’ll be shooting for the net. 

Summit Series Game 8

Team Canada defenceman Gary Bergman (2) celebrates the game-winning goal by teammate Paul Henderson, not shown, in Canada’s 6-5 win in Game 8 in Moscow on Sept. 28, 1972. (The Canadian Press)

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

Momentum was clearly on Canada’s side after back-to-back wins in Game 6 and 7, but it still had to win Game 8 to claim victory.

After a controversy over the referees nearly resulted in cancellation of the game, the teams skated onto the ice side-by-side for the final set of pregame ceremonies. Canada’s concerns about the officiating were well-founded when Bill Whiite and Pete Mahovlich received questionable penalties in the first 3:01, leading to a 5-on-3 power-play goal by Alexander Yakushev, who had emerged as a star in the series and backhanded a rebound into the net.

J.P. Parise received another questionable call a few seconds later for interference. When he was given the penalty, he went to the box. Then he came out of the penalty box, skated around and worked himself up. And then he charged the referee, with his stick over his head — he was threatening to bring down his stick on the West German referee Kompalla .

Parise was given a misconduct and a game misconduct. And the crowd started up, ‘Let’s go home, let’s go home.’ I think if at that moment, Eagleson had said ‘let’s go,’ the players would have gone off the ice. But he didn’t, so we carried on. The incident fired up Canada.

GAME 8: CANADA 6, SOVIET UNION 5

Paul Henderson’s goal for the ages in Game 8 capped a stunning Canadian comeback over the Soviets to win the 1972 Summit Series.

First Period: 1, Soviet Union, Yakushev 6 (Liapkin, Maltsev), 3:34 (pp). 2, Canada, P. Esposito 6 (Park), 6:45 (pp). 3, USSR, Lutchenko 1 (Kharlamov), 13:10 (pp). 4, Canada, Park 1 (Ratelle, Hull), 16:59.

Second Period: 5, USSR, Shadrin 3, :21. 6, Canada, White 1 (Gilbert, Ratelle), 10:32. 7, USSR, Yakushev 7, 11:43. 8, USSR, Vasiliev 1, 16:44 (pp).

Third Period: 9, Canada, P. Esposito 7 (P. Mahovlich), 2:27. 10, Canada, Cournoyer 3 (P. Esposito, Park). 12:56. 11, Canada, Henderson 7 (P. Esposito), 19:26.

Shots on Goal: Canada 14-8-14–36. Soviet Union 12-10-5–27

Goalies: Canada, Dryden 2-2-0 (27 shots on goal, 22 saves). Soviet Union, Tretiak (36-30)

Attendance: 15,000

Puerto Rico seeking membership in IIHF

By William DouglasNHL.com

Scott Vargas remembers the looks he and other members of the Puerto Rico Ice Hockey Association got when they marched in the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York in June.

“A lot of people were utterly confused and a lot of people that were at the parade still don’t know we exist, probably,” said Vargas, the PRIHA’s president and executive director.

Vargas said he believes the profile of the association, dedicated to promoting and expanding hockey within the Puerto Rican community throughout the Americas and the Caribbean, is about to be raised.

Puerto Rico’s men’s team, captained by Vargas, won the Amerigol LATAM Cup on Sept. 18 with a 3-2 win against Argentina 3-2 at the Florida Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs, Florida.

The men’s victory followed Puerto Rico’s women’s team winning the LATAM Cup in 2020, defeating Colombia 2-0.

Buoyed by the LATAM Cup performances, the PRIHA is looking for a larger platform. It applied for membership for Puerto Rico in the International Ice Hockey Federation, the sport’s governing body.

The IIHF could decide on the application during its Semi-Annual Congress, which begins in Belek, Turkey, on Thursday.

“We thought long and hard about what the purpose was of the association and, simply put, it’s to represent Puerto Rico at the highest level possible on the international stage,” Vargas said. “In order for us to do that, we’ve got to get into the IIHF. … We feel we can be a competitive organization, move up those world rankings and truly represent Puerto Rico that way.”

But Puerto Rico must overcome some serious hurdles before that can happen. The island doesn’t have a suitable ice rink — a requirement for full membership in the IIHF — and the U.S. territory has a balky electrical power grid.

The Aguadilla Ice Skating Arena, which opened in 2005 and was the only ice skating facility in the Caribbean, was damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017 and hasn’t reopened.

The Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Argelot in San Juan, where the New York Rangers defeated the Florida Panthers 3-2 in the first and only NHL game played on the island on September 23, 2006, has ice-making ability but is a large multi-use venue.

“That’s at least definitely there,” said Vargas, a 31-year-old Tampa, Florida, native who played NCAA Division III hockey at Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan, from 2012-15. “We’re trying to see if there are other places that have permanent chillers. If we could find a smaller facility, that would help us a lot.”

In the meantime, the PRIHA continues its drive to recruit more players and raise awareness of hockey on the island. The association was founded in 2020 with 11 players and now has more than 200 registered players, Vargas said.

It hosted its first evaluation camp in Chicago in May that attracted 105 players. In 2021, the PRIHA became part of Puerto Rico’s National Olympic Committee’s Federation of Puerto Rican Winter Athletes.

“If we have Olympic teams in baseball, basketball and skeleton, why not ice hockey?” said Jazmine Miley, 27, who captains Puerto Rico’s women’s team and who coaches women’s hockey at Paul Smith’s College, an upstate New York school that competes in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. “Why not ice hockey? Skeleton, you don’t even have (facilities) on the island. It’s much easier to put a rink on the island when we have the funds.”

The PRIHA plans to host its first event on the island in October, a roller and inline hockey gathering in San Juan designed to introduce residents to the sport and whet their appetite for ice hockey.

“We’ll do 3-on-3, no goalies, and we’ll have small pond hockey nets,” Vargas said.

“The grassroots level is extremely important. That’s how you start, that’s the beginning. And then we’ll see where we can get to.”

Summit Series Game 7

Canadian and Soviet hockey players pile up during a game in Moscow.

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

Team Canada made 2 changes for game 7: Tony Esposito was back in for Ken Dryden, and Red Berenson is out for Bill Goldsworthy. The Soviets meanwhile made 5 changes to their lineup, most notably Valeri Kharlamov, his already sore ankle cracked by the slash of Bobby Clarke in the last game. The Soviets also pulled Shatalov, Lebedev and Bodunov and replacing them with Gusev, Kuzkin, Blinov and Mikhailov. 

GAME 7: CANADA 4, SOVIET UNION 3

The Canadians received a late lift from Paul Henderson before surviving a desperate push by the Soviets in the final two minutes of Game 7. At the end of the day, Canada was back in business with a 4-3 victory that evened the 1972 Summit Series.

The Canadian fans sang the Canadian national anthem. every player on the team would say they had a tremendous influence on the Canadian players and in the game. 

First Period: 1, Canada, P. Esposito 4 (Ellis, Park), 4:09. 2, USSR, Yakushev 4 (Shadrin, Liapkin), 10:17. 3, USSR, Petrov 3 (Vikulov, Tsygankov), 16:27 (pp). 4, Canada, P. Esposito 5 (Parise, Savard), 17:34.

Second Period: No scoring.

Third Period: 5, Canada, Gilbert 1 (Ratelle, Hull), 2:13. 6, USSR, Yakushev 5 (Maltsev, Lutchenko), 5:15 (pp). 7, Canada, Henderson 6 (Savard), 17:54.

Shots on Goal: Canada 9-7-9–25. Soviet Union 6-13-12–31

Goalies: Canada, T. Esposito 2-1-1 (31 shots on goal, 28 saves). Soviet Union, Tretiak (25-21)

Attendance: 15,000

Summit Series Game 6

Paul Henderson celebrates with teammates after scoring the game-winner against goalie Vladislav Tretiak in Game 7 on Sept. 26, 1972 in Moscow. Canada won 4-3. (Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images)

By George Da Silva _ National Teams of Ice Hockey

Team Canada changed strategies for game six getting away from the straight-line tactics that was normal in the NHL and pushing the tempo with head-man passes and criss-crosses to take advantage of the Soviets’ biggest weakness: their play in their own zone. The Canadian players were also starting to get into shape heading into game Six in Moscow.

Game 6, was a very heated game with a lot of pushing and shoving going on. Then the famous incident where Bobby Clarke of Team Canada two-handed chop on  forward
Valeri Kharlamov’s ankle. Clarke came up from the side and laid the chop on Kharmalov’s ankle. Clarke was given a misconduct. Kharlamov finished Game 6, but he didn’t appear in Game 7. He came back to play in Game 8 but he was nowhere near the player he was earlier in the series.

GAME 6: CANADA 3, SOVIET UNION 2

Canada left the ice after Game 6 with a 3-2 victory that gave them renewed confidence and kept alive their hopes of winning the 1972 Summit Series.

First Period: No scoring

Second Period: 1, USSR, Liapkin 1 (Yakushev, Shadrin), 1:12. 2, Canada, Hull 2 (Gilbert), 5:13. 3, Canada, Cournoyer 2 (Berenson), 6:21. 4, Canada, Henderson 5, 6:36. 5, USSR, Yakushev 3 (Shadrin, Liapkin), 17:11 (pp).

Third Period: No scoring.

Shots on Goal: Canada 7-8-7-22. Soviet Union 12-8-9–29

Goalies: Canada, Dryden 1-2-0 (29 shots on goal, 27 saves). Soviet Union, Tretiak 3-2-1 (22-19)

Attendance: 15,000

Summit Series Game 5

Alexander Martynyuk and Tony Esposito.

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

There was 13 days between Games 4 and 5, with Canada preparing for the bigger international ice surface Team Canada played two games in Sweden, winning 4-1 and tying the second game 4-4,  that featured a lot of stick work by the Swedes, Wayne Cashman needed 50 stitches to close a cut in his mouth after being high-sticked and alot  of rough play by international standards from the Team Canada.

Nearly 3,000 Canadian fans made the trip to Moscow, forming a red-clad island of noise in an otherwise a very quiet gathering of 15,000 people.

Game 5 @ Moscow, Soviet Union
September 22nd, 1972

GAME 5: SOVIET UNION 5, CANADA 4


 The Soviet Union scored five third-period goals on just 11 shots for a stunning 5-4 victory in Game 5 to open up a 3-1-1 lead over Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series.

First Period: 1, Canada, Parise 2 (Perreault, Gilbert), 15:30.

Second Period: 2, Canada, Clarke 2 (Henderson), 3:34. 3, Canada, Henderson 3 (Lapointe, Clarke), 11:58.

Third Period: 4, USSR, Blinov 2 (Petrov, Kuzkin), 3:34. 5, Canada, Henderson 4 (Clarke), 4:56. 6, USSR, Anisin 1 (Liapkin, Yakushev), 9:05. 7, USSR, Shadrin 2 (Anisin), 9:13. 8, USSR, Gusev 1 (Ragulin, Kharlamov) 11:41. 9, USSR, Vikulov 2 (Kharlamov), 14:46.

Shots on goal: Canada 12-13-12–37. Soviet Union 9-13-11-33.

Goalies: Canada, T. Esposito 1-1-1 (33 shots on goal, 28 saves). Soviet Union, Tretiak 3-1-1 (37-33).

Attendance: 15,000

After the game 5 loss Canadian players got together and vowed not to lose another game in the 1972 Summit Series.

Summit Series Game 4

Vladimir Shadrin scores the final goal for the Soviet team in Vancouver, on Sept. 8, 1972, during Canada–USSR Summit Series hockey action. Team USSR took the victory in a 5–3 win over Canada. (The Canadian Press)

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

Watching their Canadian heroes blow a pair of two-goal leads and having to settle for a 4-4 tie in Game 3 of the Summit Series in Winnipeg did not set well with Team Canada fans. Game 4 at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver on Sept. 8, 1972, wound up making them even unhappier.

Injuries cost Canada both members of one of its best defensive pairs, as Guy Lapointe and Serge Savard of the Montreal Canadiens sat out. Even more costly was a pair of early penalties to Bill Goldsworthy, who had been inserted into the lineup to add energy. He was called for cross-checking at 1:24 and elbowing at 5:58 — and Boris Mikhailov capitalized on both power plays to give the Soviets a 2-0 lead after one period.

To say this wasn’t the start Team Canada had envisioned would be putting it mildly.

Game 4 @ Vancouver, Canada
September 8th, 1972

GAME 4: SOVIET UNION 5, CANADA 3

Vancouver fans booed Team Canada off the ice after a 5-3 loss to the Soviet Union in Game 4 of the Summit Series, triggering an emotional postgame outburst from Phil Esposito.

First Period: 1, USSR, Mikhailov 2 (Lutchenko, Petrov), 2:01 (pp). 2, USSR, Mikhailov 3 (Lutchenko, Petrov) 7:29 (pp).

Second Period: 3, Canada, Perreault 1, 5:37. 4, USSR, Blinov 1 (Petrov, Mikhailov), 6:34. 5, USSR, Vikulov 1 (Kharlamov, Maltsev), 13:52.

Third Period: 6, Canada, Goldsworthy 1, (P. Esposito, Bergman), 6.54. 7. USSR, Shadrin 1 (Yakushev, Vasiliev), 11:05. 8, Canada, D. Hull 1 (P. Esposito), 19:38.

Shots on Goal: Soviet Union 11-14-6–31. Canada 10-8-23–41.

Goalies: Soviet Union, Tretiak 2-1-1 (41 shots on goal, 38 saves). Canada, Dryden 0-2-0 (31-26).

Attendance: 15,570

Summit Series Game 3

Players shake hands after a hard-fought 4-4 tie in Game 3 of the Summit Series in Winnipeg on Sept. 6th, 1972. (Photo courtesy of The Hockey Hall of Fame).

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

Game 3 of the series was played in Winnipeg, Canada where  9,800 fans who packed Winnipeg Arena on the night of Sept. 6, 1972, had to wonder which Team Canada they would see — the one that was shelled in Montreal or the one that dominated Game 2 in Toronto.

Team Canada was left frustrated in a stalemated in Game 3 of the 1972 Summit Series after the Soviet Union twice overcame two-goal deficits to leave with a 4-4 tie.

Game 3 @ Winnipg, Canada
September 6th, 1972

GAME 3: CANADA 4, SOVIET UNION 4

Soviets, who tinkered with their lineup. Coach Vsevolod Bobrov’s best move was his decision to reunite the trio of Alexander Bodunov, Yuri Lebedev and center Viachaeslav Anisin, who had helped the Soviet junior team dominate the 1971 World University Games in Lake Placid. The “Kid Line,” as it was dubbed by the Canadian media, wound up having a major say in the outcome.

After the game, Sinden took a lot of heat from the press for his team’s failure to dominate the series. But rather than criticize his players, Sinden paid tribute to the Soviets, who had surprised almost everyone with their showing in the first three games.

“Do the Soviets compare with the NHL’s best?” someone asked.

“Absolutely.”

“As good as the Boston Bruins?”

“Yes sir,” Sinden said, comparing the Soviets to the franchise he had coached to the 1970 Stanley Cup. “As good as the Boston Bruins.”

After a pause, he added, “After all, whoever told us that we in Canada know all about hockey, except ourselves.”

First Period: 1, Canada, Parise 1 (White, P. Esposito) 1:54. 2, USSR Petrov 2, 3:16 (sh). 3,  Canada, Ratelle 1 (Cournoyer, Bergman), 18:25.

Second Period: 4, Canada P. Esposito 3 (Cashman, Parise), 4:19. 5, USSR, Kharlamov 3 (Tsygankov), 12:56 (sh). 6, Canada, Henderson 2 (Clarke, Ellis) 13:47. 7, USSR, Lebedev 1 (Anisin, Vasiliev), 14:59. 8, USSR, Bodunov 1 (Anisin), 18:28.

Third Period: No scoring.

Shots on goal: Soviet Union 9-8-8-25. Canada 15-17-6–38.

Goalies: Soviet Union, Tretiak 1-1-1 (38 shots on goal, 34 saves). Canada, T. Esposito 1-0-1 (25-21)

Attendance: 9,800

Summit Series Game 2

Paul Henderson #19 of Canada shoots on net during Game 1 of the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union on September 2, 1972 at the Montreal Forum. In net for the Soviet Union is Vladislav Tretiak.

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

The festive atmosphere that surrounded Game 1 of the Summit Series was nowhere to be found in Game 2. The 16,485 fans who filled Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto had seen the Soviets slice up the best the NHL had to offer in the series opener, and players and fans now knew this was going to be a long and tougher series than anyone first thought.

Game 2 @ Toronto, Canada
September 4th, 1972

GAME 2: CANADA 4, SOVIET UNION 1

Team Canada head coach Harry Sinden made line-up changes before Game 2. He had stressed skating and speed in lineup choices for Game 1, and even with that philosophy, the Soviets skated faster the Canadian team. 

Massive changes

It was time to get more of the “diggers” in the lineup for Game 2. Wayne Cashman and J.P. Parise were added along with Stan Mikita. Three changes on defence included the Chicago Blackhawk pairing of Pat Stapleton and Bill White, along with Serge Savard.
 
Out of the lineup was one of the best NHL lines from the New York Rangers. Vic Hadfield, Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert took a seat for Game 2. Other scratches were Rod Seiling, Don Awrey, Mickey Redmond and Red Berenson.
 
Tony Esposito replaced Dryden in goal.

With a new lineup and a new philosophy, Canada evened the 1972 Summit Series at one win apiece with a solid 4-1 victory against the Soviet Union in Game 2.

First Period: No scoring.

Second Period: 1, Canada, P. Esposito 2 (Park, Cashman), 7:14.

Third Period: 2, Canada, Cournoyer 1 (Park), 1:19 (pp). 3, USSR, Yakushev 2 (Liapkin, Zimin), 5:53 (pp). 4, Canada, P. Mahovlich 1 (P. Esposito), 6:47 (sh). 5, Canada, F.Mahovlich 1  (Mikita, Cournoyer), 8:59.

Shots on Goal: Soviet Union 7-5-9–21. Canada 10-16-10–36.

Goalies: Soviet Union, Tretiak 1-1-0 (36 shots on goal, 32 saves). Canada, T. Esposito 1-0-0 (21-20).

Summit Series Game 1

Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, center, drops the puck during the ceremonial face-off between the USSR’s Vladimir Vikulov, left, and Canada’s Phil Esposito, right, on Sept. 2, 1972, in the Montreal Forum. (The Canadian Press)

By George Da SIlva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

Fifty years ago today, the hockey world was changed  for ever by the start of an eight-game series between national teams from Canada, loaded with NHL stars in their prime, and the Soviet Union, considered the two best hockey nations in the world at the time. The eight game series was played in the month of September. The series was a must see for hockey fans across the globe and after its dramatic finish, a 4-3-1 series win for the Canadians. There was no question that the NHL would never be the same again.

Game 1 @ Montreal, Canada
September 2nd, 1972

GAME 1: SOVIET UNION 7, CANADA 3

The first game of the Summit Series started as if it would be a cakewalk for Canada. By the final whistle, the packed house at the Montreal  Forum sat in stunned disbelief after a 7-3 victory for the Soviet Union.

First Period: 1, Canada, P. Esposito 1 (F. Mahovlich, Bergman), :30. 2, Canada, Henderson 1 (Clarke), 6:32. 3, USSR, Zimin 1 (Yakushev, Shadrin) 11:40. 4, USSR, Petrov 1 (Mikhailov) 17.28, (sh).

Second Period: 5, USSR, Kharlamov 1 (Maltsev), 2:40. 6, USSR, Kharlamov 2 (Maltsev), 10:18.

Third Period: 7, Canada, Clarke 1 (Ellis, Henderson), 8:22. 8, USSR, Mikhailov 1 (Blinov), 13:32. 9, USSR, Zimin 2, 14:29. 10, USSR, Yakushev 1 (Shadrin), 18:37

Shots on Goal: Soviet Union 10-10-10–30. Canada 10-10-12–32.

Goalies: Soviet Union, Tretiak 1-0-0 (32 shots on goal, 29 saves). Canada, Dryden 0-1-0 (30-23).

Attendance: 18,818

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