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UNIHOC -- Brought to You from Sweden

By Lynn Albers
Associate Sports Editor

Check this out! The newest addition to the MIT athletic department is called UNIHOC, and it's fun, fast, and just what you need to stay in shape.

UNIHOC originated in Sweden some 20 years ago. The Swedes wanted a relaxed indoor alternative to hockey that was safe, gender neutral, and aerobically demanding. UNIHOC fulfilled all those requirements and grew quickly in popularity. It has now conquered 20 countries throughout the world. Now, UNIHOC has come to the United States, and MIT is its first landing ground.

Henrik Martin '93, who helped bring the sport to MIT, describes UNIHOC as having its roots in field hockey and ice hockey. The sport is played on a flat surface and the rules have been tailored to minimize the number of interruptions, thus creating a fast-paced and potentially exhausting game.

Two weekends ago, the first-ever American UNIHOC Invitational Tournament took place in our very own backyard on Courts 1 and 2 of Dupont Gymnasium. Eight MIT teams participated in very intense competition for the illustrious first prize and title of American UNIHOC Champions. Competition began at 11 a.m. and concluded with the final match at 1:30 p.m.

The eight teams were separated into two divisions, and play within each division took place in a round-robin fashion. The top two teams in each division then advanced to the semi-finals, where Heineken 'R Us defeated East Campus 7-1, and Nu Delta defeated Senior House 4-2.

In the final match, Nu Delta started out strong with two quick goals by Levente Egry '95. A beautiful save by Darryl Hemingway '94 kept Heineken 'R Us from scoring until well into the first period. Christine Brastad started the ball rolling for Heineken 'R Us with a wicked wrist shot from half court to score their first goal. Excellent play by John Sieh '92 and Martin brought HRU ahead 4-2. At the end of the two 10-minute periods, the game was tied at 4 all taking the teams into an intense sudden death overtime. Sieh, eager to get on with the post-game festivities, quickly scored off a pass from Martin to pronounce Heineken 'R Us the first ever UNIHOC Champions in American history.

UNIHOC is a sport for everyone. Jennifer Majernik '96 and Martin officially started the first North American UNIHOC club at MIT on November 16, 1992. The club has already attracted over 30 people, a number which is expected to increase over the coming months. The club's goals are simply to have fun, to create an atmosphere of friendly competition, to provide good exercise, and to spread the sport to other campuses, according to Martin. The club also has a standing invitation to a number of UNIHOC tournaments all over Europe, he added.

The club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. in Dupont on Court 2. Martin emphasized that everyone in the community is encouraged to try out this new sport, and that all equipment is provided.