Innisfil resident Tristan Munro says he's "honoured" to be a member of the Veterans 45+ Team Canada for Inline Hockey as he and his teammates head to Brunico, Italy to represent the nation in the sport's World Cup.
Currently ranked fourth in the world, the Veterans 45+ Team Canada will be looking to win the coveted gold medal and the title of world champion. They will be competing against two formidable teams — Czechia and then the United States — when the tournament begins on Monday, May 29.
Although this is the first time Munro has been a member of Team Canada, he says he already knows the skill, teamwork, determination, and dedication needed to win first place. He was previously a member of the Team Ontario squad that won gold in the 45-plus division Winternationals in California last year.
Munro has been playing inline hockey since his teenage years. Dedicated to the game, he played extensively year-round when he attended university in Australia for two years.
“Jamie Visser, a Team Canada regular, was on my first inline team back in 1994 when the sport first started," he said. "It is pretty cool that 29 years later we're both representing Canada at the same event.
“We have played together a few times over the years, but it will be nice to catch up again in Italy," Munro added. "There are several guys from previous tryouts and development teams I recognize on the rosters as well. I am proud of each of them and honoured to be wearing the same jersey.”
Munro, who regularly travels to Toronto to play inline hockey, says he hopes the sport will attract eager players in Simcoe County so the love of the game will flourish closer to home.
“Since moving to Innisfil about five years ago, I had noticed ice hockey and ball hockey are fairly big in the area, but I couldn't find Inline anywhere," he said. "I have been commuting to the GTA to play in inline leagues or pick-up hockey and stay involved in the game.
"It would be really nice to see the game expand and grow in the Innisfil, Barrie area. I've played all three types of hockey and find inline the most enjoyable. I am sure others would as well,” Munro added.
Munro urges prospective players to check out Canada Inline for more information about the sport. He explained there are notable differences when comparing inline hockey to ice hockey. For example, inline hockey teams play four-on-four — while ice hockey teams, of course, play five-on-five — and there are no icing or offside calls.
He also explained that inline hockey goalies have less lateral movement than their on-ice counterparts, so more goals are scored per game than what may be expected in ice hockey.
Playing inline hockey in Europe is also different than playing in North America. While the length of the rink is the same, international rinks are 15 feet wider and the nets tend to be smaller than those used in North America.
“On an international level, I know inline hockey has been considered for trial in the Olympics," Munro said. "There is currently a petition circulating to have it added to the 2028 Games in Los Angeles. It is beyond me how this has not yet been made an Olympic sport. Inline hockey would be a huge ticket draw and attract many familiar names.
“Many current and former NHLers, as well as worldwide pro and semi-pro players, play inline hockey. Even the latest soon-to-be No. 1 draft pick, Connor Bedard, is also a star inline player in the Vancouver leagues," he added.
Shortlisted for Team Canada in the past, Munro is understandably excited to represent Canada this week, and with teammates who are as dedicated to the game as he is, Innisfil residents are invited to watch his lifelong dream come true on the Masters Inline World Hockey Association’s website by clicking here.