Tuesday, July 24, 2012
July by the Numbers moves to the Low Countries northwest Europe for jersey #24.
The Netherlands National Team first played in 1935 and is currently ranked 24th in the world, competing at the IIHF World Championship Division I Group B level, now the third highest level of international hockey. Their highest ranking first came in 2004, when they were ranked 23rd.
They participated sparingly during their early days, finishing 14th and last their first time out in 1935 after going 0-6 and being outscored 34-0 before returning in 1939 (improving to 11th out of 13 and scoring their first goals in their 2-1 over Finland) and then not until 1950, the long gap mainly due to the outbreak of World War II.
In 1950 they placed 8th before four straight appearances in the B Pool from 1951 to 1955. They returned to the international scene next in 1961 and 1963 (now assigned to the C Pool), before finally becoming regular participants in 1967, still in the C Pool.
In 1973, they placed second in the C Pool with a 5-2 record and outscoring their opponents 52-21 while hosting the tournament to earn a promotion to the B Pool, where they stayed for four tournaments prior to a one year demotion to the C Pool, which they won their first time out in 1978 with a 6-1 mark and a staggering 74-17 goal differential to immediately return to the B Pool Group 2, which they won their first year back up with a 4-0 record, which earned them the right to compete in the Olympic hockey tournament for the only time, the 1980 Games in Lake Placid, New York, where they posted a record of 1-3-1 thanks to a win over Poland and a tie with Japan.
Their B Pool championship in 1979 also gained them entry into the top level of the World Championships for 1981, but they were relegated back to the B Pool after finding the going too tough when they were placed in a group with the Soviet Union, Canada and Finland and lost all three Consolation Round games against the United States, Finland and West Germany.
The Netherlands in action against Kazakhstan
Over the next 17 tournaments, the Netherlands competed in the B Pool, with three relegations to the C Pool, where they successfully returned to the B Pool on their first try each time.
In 2001, they remained in the newly renamed Division I, where they defended their place each time out until the new structure introduced in 2012 saw them placed in the lower half of Division I, still referred to as Division I Group B, but now requiring the Netherlands to rise up through Group A to reach the Top Division again.
The 2012 Netherlands National Team
Ron Berteling holds the record for the most games played for the national team with 213 while Jack de Heer has scored the most points with 210. Berteling has been awarded the Frans Henrichs Trophy as the MVP of the Dutch League, while de Heer has a trophy named for him which is given to the leading scorer of the Dutch Super Liga.
The Netherlands currently has 1,100 registered senior players and 1,100 junior players and 26 indoor rinks.
Today's featured jersey is a 1995 Netherlands National Team Frank Janssen jersey. Despite their national flag being red, white and blue, the Netherlands traditionally wears orange in international competition, as it is the color of the Dutch Royal Family.
This attractive jersey was made by the Tackla company of Finland, only with Reebok branding on the shoulders in 1994 and 1995 until a different manufacturer took over in 1996. Note the jersey is incorrectly customized with only one "s" in the name.
Janssen, a right wing, had a long career, spent almost entirely with the Nijmegen Tigers in the Dutch Eredivisie, the top hockey league in the Netherlands, playing from 1983-84 to 2001-02. He played for the national team on nine times, seven in the World Championships B Pool, once in the C Pool, and again in an Olympic qualification tournament in 2000.
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions
First up in the video section today, classic footage of the Netherlands versus Canada in the 1980 Olympics. The Netherlands are not wearing their expected orange color, but white jerseys with blue trim.
More classic footage, including a brief interviews with record holding national team players Berteling and de Heer from 1983, as the Netherlands takes on Hungary.
From the recent 2010 Division 1 Group A World Championships in Tilburg, the host Dutch take on Japan.