International Ice Hockey Federation

Asterix: The Hockey Way

Asterix: The Hockey Way

Paul Loicq: hockey’s bravest Belgian!

Published 03.05.2017 18:26 GMT+2 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Asterix: The Hockey Way
While the Belgian warriors in Asterix in Belgium brag of their bravery, IIHF President Paul Loicq was brave on and off the ice! Photos: Editions Albert René, IIHF Archive
In Asterix in Belgium, our mascots vie with the Belgians to see who’s the bravest. There’s no doubt about the bravery of Belgian-born IIHF President Paul Loicq!

Leading up to the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, we’re dedicating one article to each day of the tournament, making a tongue-in-cheek comparison between an Asterix comic book and famous aspects of international hockey history.

How many people do you know who simultaneously serve as the president of an international sports federation and referee that sport? Paul Loicq achieved that feat from 1922 to 1947 as the head of the IIHF, refereeing more than 60 Olympic and World Championship games. That’s as gutsy as Obelix catching a huge catapult stone and hurling it back at Roman soldiers! And it’s way more productive than Chief Vitalstatistix and a Belgian chief arguing over who’s braver!

Born in Brussels in 1888, Loicq won two bronze medals at the European hockey championships (1910, 1914). He also played on the fifth-place Belgian team at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, where hockey made its Olympic debut. Loicq later founded the International College of Referees. (Interestingly, current IIHF President René Fasel was also a referee in his native Switzerland and internationally.)

Loicq, a former law student, showed his bravery away from the rink too. He served in the Belgian army in World War I and World War II, achieving the rank of colonel. No wonder he entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961 and the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1997!

Toward the end of Asterix in Belgium, Julius Caesar exclaims: “I’ve no idea who are the bravest. All I know is that you’re all equally crazy!” If the Roman emperor was talking about international hockey fans, he would be correct: we are crazy about this great sport! And Loicq helped make us this way.

Today, the IIHF’s Paul Loicq Award goes annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the IIHF and international hockey. Some recent winners have included Russian journalist Vsevolod Kukushin (2000), U.S. coach Lou Vairo (2010), and TSN commentator Gord Miller (2013). This year’s winner is former French national team player and manager Patrick Francheterre, who will be honored at the IIHF Hall of Fame ceremony in Cologne on 21 May.

Obelix goes home to Gaul with barrels of Belgian beer strapped to his back, but frankly, the Paul Loicq Award tastes even sweeter for the winner!

This is a 17-part series prior to the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, of which Asterix and Obelix are the official mascots. Click on News to find the stories.


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