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  Belgium     Updated: February 10, 2008 
  Population 10,584,534 Indoor 13 Total 1402 Male 22
  Capital Brussels Outdoor 1 Male 345 Female 2
  IIHF Since December 8, 1908     Junior 1057    
      (founding member)   Female 94    


Belgium has a long hockey tradition and is one of the founding IIHF members. Their first articifial ice rink opened under the supervision of King Leopold II on December 26,1895 in Brussels and got the name Pôle Nord. It was quite a luxurious ice rink, surrounded by fancy dining tables. On December 17,1903 the first Belgian ice hockey club was founded - La Fédération
des Patineurs de Belgique (FPB).

In 1911 a second artificial ice rink opened in Saint-Sauveur, Brussels. It measured 56 x 13 m (174 x 42 feet). During these first years it was common for the players to play in long trousers, white elegant shirts and bow-ties. The first league championship was played for the first time as far back as 1912 when their best club ever the Brussels Ice Hockey and Skating Club won. Leading the charge that first season were the Toronto born Jarvis brothers. The Brussel IHC went on to win a Belgian record 28 titles,the last coming in 1982. Belgian hockey was pretty
strong between 1905-35,but after that the quality of Belgian hockey dropped considerably. The 1920 Olympic ice hockey tournament was played at Ijspaleis (Palais de Glace) in
Anwerpen. Winnipeg Falcons won the gold for Canada.

January 29,1939 is a memorable day because that's when 21,000 spectators jammed the Sportpalais Merksem to see their local heroes Brabo Antwerpen lose to the future Canadian World Champions the Trail Smoke Eaters 0-7. That crowd stood as a European record for many years.

Belgium made it's last appearance in the A-Pool back in 1950. Since then they have dropped down all the way down to the lowest divisions. Belgian hockey today have economical problems since nobody is willing to put any money into The sport, and the interest is very poor with attendance rarely topping 500 for league games. When the Belgian cup final is played, between 1500-2000 people show up. One team in the Belgian league even played its home games on an outdoor rink well into the 1990's.

Ijspaleis (Palais de Glace) in Antwerpen


The first games against international opponents came on March 4 and 5,1905 when Fédération des Patineurs de Belgique (Belgium) played two games against Cercle des Patineurs de Paris (France). The Belgian team won both games, 3-0 and 4-2 with captain Ernest Renard scoring all goals for his team. The French team was captained by Louis Magnus who a couple of years later would become the first president of the IIHF.

The historic Belgian squad looked like this:

Goalie: M.Simon
Defensemen: Louis De Smeth and Carle Backvis
Forwards: Ernest Renard (Captain), Albert Gomrée and Henri Daniëls.

Belgian club teams played in various tournaments around Europe shortly after that. The first appearance was on home ice in Brussels and the arena Pôle Nord where
Canadian Geo Maegher organized a tournament that was held between March 10- 19,1906.  Fédération des Patineurs de Belgique (FPB) and Cercle des Patineurs de Bruxelles
(CPB) were the two Belgian teams that participated. FPB lost 1-20 to the French team Cercle des Patineurs de Paris and CPB lost 2-18 to the same French team. It was a good learning experience for the Belgian players. One year later (March 2 and 3,1907) the CPB and FPB teams got a visit from the most successful British team, Princes Ice Hockey Club London.
Once again the Belgian squads got a valuable lesson from the British team. CPB lost 1-12 and FPB 0-17.

Belgium's national team played its first international hockey game against their neighbours from France in 1906 and beat them 6-2. Belgium finished third during the first two European Championship tournaments in 1910 and 1911. Then at the 1913 European Championships held in Munich (Germany) the Belgian team went on to win. They finished with the same amount of points as the Czechs whom they tied 4-4,but Belgium won because of a better goal difference.

The historic Belgian team that won looked like this:

Goalie: Francois Vergult
Defensemen: Freddy Charlier and Henri Van den Bulcke
Rover: Paul Goeminne
Forwards: Léon Goosens,Fernand de Blommaert and Maurice Deprez

Henri Van den Bulcke (1889-1947) went on to become a successful lawyer and later became the IIHF president. Maurice Deprez was the leading scorer on the team.

Paul Loicq was a pretty important figure in Belgian hockey. Together with his brother René he founded the first Belgian ice hockey club.He later became a European champion
and also represented Belgium on home ice (Antwerpen 1920) at the Olympic games. He became a very wealthy lawyer and a successful businessman and was the fourth president of the IIHF between 1922-47. He was elected to the presidency 19 times and was the first European to be inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame back in 1961.

The last successful tournament that Belgium played was the 1927 European Championships in Vienna (Austria) where they finished second behind Austria. In that tournament they had the MVP, Willy Kreitz. Two other good players was Pierre van Reyschoot and goalie Hector Chotteau. All three were an integral part of Belgian ice hockey in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Between the 1920's and 50's one of Belgium's most popular players represented Belgium. His name was Joseph (Jef) Lekens. He was a very good overall athlete becoming the Belgian track and field champ at 1500 meters and 200 meters hurdles. He represented Belgium between 1929 and 1955,and was still one of the better Belgian players at the age of 44.

Another player worth mentioning was the goalie from Brussels Henri Heirman who had a long and fine career on the national team that lasted for 22 years (1939-61) until he decided to hang em' up at the age of 41.

In Belgium's last A-Pool appearance 1950 they finished in 7th place out of 9 teams. They were trounced by Canada 0-33 and Switzerland 3-24 before winning their two
consolation games 8-1 against France and 4-2 against Netherlands.

Then Belgium had a break for five years and came back and finished last in the B-Pool 1955. After that they showed up only six times in 22 years finishing last in the C-Pool every time 1961,1963,1970,1971,1975 until avoiding the last place in 1977, finishing in the runner up spot for last place. During these seven tournaments dating back to 1955 Belgium played a total of 39 games losing 38 of them. The only win came in 1977 against Spain (7-6) the total goal difference in these 39 games was an embarrasing 69-584.That's only 1,76 goals scored per game and 14,97 goals against per game. These numbers says it all. We also have to remember that this was against competition playing in the lowly C-Pool. Probably the best Belgian player during this era was Jacques Moris. (not Morris). He played in four World Championships during the 1950's and 60's and is considered one of the absolute best players Belgium have produced in the post war era. His son Bob went on to have a stellar career in the 1970's and 80's (both for the national team and in the league) and later his son Bob Jr. was one of the best players in Belgium before an injury stopped his career. The Moris family certainly have a great tradition. Three generations of Moris have been dominant in Belgian hockey, a rare feat in any sport.

Bob Moris Sr.


1990 - C-Pool in Budapest (Hungary)

Not much to cheer about. Belgium only won one game. It came against North Korea (6-1). "Good enough" for 7th place. The other games where Belgium played fairly well was in the 0-3 loss to South Korea and 3-5 loss to Bulgaria. The only positive thing for Belgium was that their great defenseman Mike Pellegrims was voted as the best defenseman of the tournament.
Jan van Beveren had 10 points (9+1) and Pellegrims 2+5. Bart Roels also had 2+5.

1991 - D-Pool in Copenhagen and Brondby (Denmark)

This time the result was even more depressing. Belgium lost all seven games and finished with a dismal goal difference (11-101). The only game were they didn't allow ten or more goals was against North Korea (2-7). Belgium's best scorer was center Walter Stappaerts who got 4 points (4+0) in 8 games. Aldo van Der Aker had 2 points (2+0) in only 4 games.
Defenseman Tim Vos and Yourie Steylen both had 2 points (1+1) in 8 games. Poor goalie Luc van Walle faced a barrage of shots,he was bombarded with 425 shots in less than 8 games.

1992 - C-Pool in Humberside (Great Britain)

In 1992 the C-Pool World Championships was divided into two groups one was held in Humberside (Great Britain) and the other one was held in Johannesburg (South Africa). The group in Johannesburg was basically a D-Pool WC. Belgium played in Humberside and finished 5th out of the 6 teams that participated. Belgium beat both Korean teams,North Korea 5-4 and South Korea 6-4. The highest scorer on the Belgian team was center Aldo Van Aker who collected 8 points (6+2) in 5 games. But the best player on the Belgian squad was without a
doubt defenseman Mike Pellegrims who scored 7 points (2+5) in 5 games which made him the highest scoring defenseman in the tournament together with three others.. The same Pellegrims was voted as the best defender during the 1990 D-Pool WC.

1993 - C-Pool in Ljubljana and Bled (Slovenia)

Belgium did a pretty solid job,except for the huge losses to Ukraine and Latvia (2-37 resp. 3-26). They beat Korea 5-3 and Israel 8-5. Belgium finished 8th among the 12 teams.
Belgium's best player  was once again defenseman Mike Pellegrims who collected 7 points (2+5) in only 3 games. he was clearly better then all of his teammates and one of the best defenseman in the whole tournament. The scoring king on the Belgian team was Bart Veulemans with 8 points (3+5) in 5 games. And most goals on the team was scored by Aldo van den Aker who bulged the twine five times in five games. Goaltending was a concern for Belgium. Raf Melis yielded 37 pucks to Ukraine which Resulted in him watching the rest of the tournament from the bench.

1994 - C-Pool (Group B) in Barcelona (Spain)

So in 1994 Belgium went to Barcelona to play. This time the World Championships C-Pool was divided into two groups. Belgium was placed in the 2nd group called the C 2-Pool. (which in real terms was the D- Pool). And in this C 2-Pool the eight teams were divided into two groups from where the two best teams in each group made the "promotion round" battling it out for the "ticket" to the C 1 - Pool. Belgium almost made it to the final four in that C 2 -Pool. But they lost the deciding game to South Korea 2-3. The poor Belgians lost that game thanks to the referee who disallowed two correct Belgian goals. Belgium argued frantically, especially pointing out to the directoriat that there wasn't any goal judge behind the Korean goal. If the goal judge who supposed to be there took one of the famous Spanish fiestas (breaks) is something that forever will remain a mystery.

In the consolation group Belgium finished first after beating Israel 5-2 and Australia 5-3. This gave them a 5th place among the 8 teams in the C 2 -Pool Bob Moris Jr. made his international debut in style finishing in 8th place in the scoring race, getting 9 points (5+4) in 5 games. He was creating a lot of chances with his nifty stickhandling. The second best scorer on the team was Walter Stappaerts who got 7 points (4+3) in 5 games followed by defenseman Tim Vos with 6 points (4+2) in 5 games. Another good performance came from Luc Van Walle who finished with a decent 2,87 GAA. Unfortunately for Belgium they had to play without their best player, Mike Pellegrims who turned down the invitation. He was physically and mentally drained
after having played in the Dutch league finals with his team Geelen.

1995 - C-Pool (Group B) in Johannesburg (South Africa)

In 1995 it was once again divided in a C 1 and C 2 -Pools. Belgium still was in the C 2 -Pool. The Belgian teams performance was like a roller coaster in the tournament. They lost only 2-8 to the Lithuanians and 1-4 to Spain. They beat Australia 10-2 and then played their worst game of the tournament tying Greece 5-5 despite outshooting them 88-18.
In the consolation group they once again finished first for a 5th place (among 10 teams). In the consolation group they beat South Africa 10-1 and lost to Israel 2-7. Unfortunately Mike Pellegrims once again was unavailable because he was busy playing playoff hockey in Holland. Bob Moris Jr. was the best scorer on the Belgian team with 13 points (7+6) in 6 games
which was good enough for another top 10 finish in the scoring race (6th place). In Pellegrims absence the fiery redheaded defenseman Tim Vos had to carry a lot of the load and did it well. He had 6 points (1+5) in 6 games.

1996 - D-Pool in Elektrénai and Kaunas (Lithuania)

This time the C 1 and C 2-Pool nonsense was dropped. Now it was simply the D-Pool. Belgium didn't have their two best players in defenseman Mike Pellegrims and Center
Bob Moris Jr. This hurt their offensive play a lot, mainly their powerplay. Pellegrims was playing playoff hockey with his French club Brest and Moris was injured.

They lost 2-11 to Lithuania but won 3-2 against Bulgaria and 5-0 against Israel. Especially the win against Bulgaria was pleasant because it was the first time ever that Belgium managed to beat them. The two wins in the group got Belgium into the final four group. They lost 2-5 to Yugoslavia and 1-6 to Spain,which left them in 4th place among the 8
teams. Despite playing without their two best players Belgium did pretty well,mostly thanks to the trainer Jos Lejeune (who used to represent Belgium as a player) he put heavy emphasis on defense.  Their most successful player point wise was Koen Hermans who got 4 points (1+3) in 5 games. The best goalscorer was Phillipe Colls who had 3 goals in 5 games.
However the best player was the veteran defenseman Tim Vos who appeared in his 8th World Championship tournament. He chipped in with 2 goals and played some solid hard hockey.
Belgium won the Fair Play Cup for being the least penalized team in the tournament.

1997 - D-Pool in Canillo (Andorra)

It was the first time ever that a tournament was held in the tiny country of Andorra. Not unexpectedly did Belgium miss their two best players once again,both Moris and Pellegrims. Mike Pellegrims was now playing in the German league for Mannheim and helped them win the German league,the year before that he helped the French club Brest win the French championship and the years before that he took his Dutch club Geleen to a couple of finals.

Belgium once again played well defensively only yielding 16 goals in 5 games, which for them are numbers almost unheard of. Too bad that their offence once again was non existent. They lost 1-4 to Korea,beat Croatia 2-1 in their best game of the tournament. Then they beat Australia 4-2. They finished with 4 points,the same as Korea and Croatia but had the worst goal difference which left them in third place and a spot in the relegation group. While there, they lost to Bulgaria 2-4 and to Israel 3-5. This ment that Belgium finished last among the 8 teams. Not good at all, and much of this had to do with the absence of Pellegrims and Moris. At that level Pellegrims and Moris were so good that they alone would probably have got Belgium to a 5th or 6th place. Ten of the players on the roster were from the Belgian champs Phantom Deuvre, five were active in Holland and one in France. Tim Vos was once again the anchor on the defense and the whole team. (1+2 in 5 games). Belgium's best point getter was Krist van den Broeck who got 4 points (1+3) in 5 games.

1998 - D-Pool in Krugersdorp and Pretoria (South Africa)

The arrival to South Africa could have been better. Only 25% of the luggage arrived. so five players had no equipment and ten had no clothes.It took several days before the lost luggage arrived. Fve of the players had to train with borrowed equipment. One of the goalies got sick and couldn't train. Despite the problems Belgium beat the home team South Africa 5-2.
After that Greece was downed 14-2, before Belgium lost 3-5 to Israel despite outshooting them 38-17. A 0-4 loss to Bulgaria and a 5-1 win against Australia put Belgium in 4th place.

Belgium's best player was Canadian Gil Paelinck who made his debut for the national team. He was 6'0" and a solid 209 lbs. His experience and smart play proved to be valuable.
He had 10 points (7+3) in 5 games and finished 7th overall in scoring. Koen Hermans had 8 points (5+3) in 5 games and Joris Peussens had 7 points (5+2) in 5 games.

1999 – D-Pool in Krugersdorp (South Africa)

Once again the D-Pool tournament was held in South Africa. Belgium played in the C-Group together with Israel and Iceland. They beat Iceland 14-0 but lost to Israel 2-6.
In the battle for 4th place, Belgium beat South Africa 6-1 and New Zealand 10-2. Kristoff van den Broeck led the team with 10 points (6+4) and his brother had a tournament
leading 0.69 GAA and a 95,92 save %. Tim Vos had a tournament leading +14 rating.


2000 – D-Pool in Reykjavik (Iceland)

Belgium played in group C together with Mexico (5-0) and South Africa (10-1). Then in the final round for they beat Australia 7-3 and tied Israel 1-1. Belgium finished second after Israel due to a worse goal differential. Since the divisions were restructured for the next season it didn’t matter who finished among the top seven teams. Six players had their club address in Holland and one in Canada. 34-year old Canadian Gil Paelinck was the oldest player on the team. He was also the teams top scorer with 9 points (7+2), good for 4th place overall.
Tim Vos had 3+3 and Jesse Raekelboom had 1+5. Goaltender Björn Steylen turned in a stellar performance with a tournament leading 1,29 GAA and 95,61 save %.

2001 – Division II Group B in Bucharest (Romania)
The team finished fifth out of the six teams. Belgium lost to Israel 1-5, tied Yugoslavia 4-4, lost to Romania 1-6 and Bulgaria 4-5, before winning against Mexico 13-0.
Top scorer on the team was Czech born (Uherske Hradiste) Jan Jurceka with 10 points (6+4) which was good for 5th overall in the tournament. He was followed by Gil Paelinck with
9 points (7+2).

2002 – Division II Group A in Cape Town (South Africa)

Played in beautiful Cape Town, Belgium had a good tournament, finishing second, only behind the strong Estonian team. The Belgians finally had Mike Pellegrims on the team again.
He played his club hockey in Germany (Düsseldorfer EG) at that time.  They also had two Canadians in Gil Paelinck and Ian Baele. Jan Jurceka was once again the best scorer on the team. He had 7+4 and finished 4th overall in scoring. Tim Vos had 4+4, Joris Peusens 4+4, Koen Hermans 3+5, Philippe Cools 5+1, Gil Paelinck 3+2 and Mike Pellegrims 2+3.

2003 – Division II Group B in Sofia (Bulgaria)

Veterans Mike Pellegrims, Gil Paelinck, Tim Vos and Jan Jurceka, the four oldest players on the Team helped Belgium getting promoted to Division I. It was a sweet victory for Belgium who finally won a championship tournament. Defenseman Mike Pellegrims was head and shoulders above all the players in the championship. He scored a tournament leading 13 points (4+9), five more than runner-up Jan Jurceka (4+4). Tim Vos had 1+6.  Pellegrims and Jurceka had a tournament best +9. Belgium had a strong powerplay, scoring on 40% of their opportunities.

2004 – Division I Group A in Oslo (Norway)

The competition was naturally much stronger in Division I.  Belgium lost the opening game 0-10 against Belarus, but they played well for the first two periods, only trailing 0-2.
Then in the next game against Hungary, they played well once again. It was 4-4 after two periods until Hungary scored two more goals in the third. They spent too much energy in these
first two games and went on to lose against Holland 2-11, Norway 1-11 and Great Britain 0-6. It came as no surprise to anyone that Belgium got relegated. Maxime Schuchewytsch who played in France led the team with 4 points (3+1). Jesse Raekelboom had 3+0, Jan Jurceka 0+3 and Mike Pellegrims 0+2. Vincent Morgan won 71,43% of his faceoffs, leading all players in that category.

2005 – Division II Group B in Belgrade (Serbia & Montenegro)

Once again Belgium was playing in the Division II group. They finished 4th after an uneventful tournament. In the opening game they beat Iceland 4-3 in front of 50 people with Koen Hermans netting the winning goal with 50 seconds left of the game. In the second game they beat Spain 2-1. But after that they lost three games in a row, 4-7 against Israel, 1-3 against Korea and 2-5 against Serbia & Montenegro. Jeroen Kustermans had 3+2, Koen Hermans 3+1 and Finnish born Sami Lipsonen 0+4.

2006 – Division II Group A in Sofia (Bulgaria)

The team finished in 3rd place behind Romania and the surprise team Bulgaria. Belgium lost to Romania 2-4, got a 2-2 tie with Serbia & Montenegro, before beating South Africa 7-0. They also beat Spain 4-0 and managed to tie Bulgaria 4-4. Veteran blueliner Tim Vos led the team with 0+6 ahead of Jan Mertens with 2+3. Björn Steylen in goal had a 2,00 GAA and a 90,38 save %.

2007 – Division II Group A in Zagreb (Croatia)

Belgium had a few new players on the team and did very well with them. The team had a tough opening game against Croatia, losing 4-13. Then they beat Bulgaria 6-0 after a well performed game, outshooting the Bulgarians 54-16. Belgium also beat Serbia & Montenegro 2-1 and Spain 3-2 in two tightly contested games. They finished the tournament with an easy 10-2 victory over Turkey and finished second in the tournament behind home team Croatia. Tim Vos played in his 17th world championship tournament. Dries Steijnen had 3+7, Björn Nuyts 4+1 and Seppe Sysmans 3+2.



When Brussel IHC (Ice Hockey Skating Club) won the first league title back in 1912 it would mark the start of the most successful Belgian team ever. They won an additional 27 titles. Four years before (1908) the first league championship was played the
Brussel club had it's first foreign pro on the club. 28 year old Belgian born, but USA raised Harold Duden who previously had played for the Princes Ice Hockey Club London, played for Brussel IHC in 1908. He had played for Columbia University between 1899-1901.

The dominant Belgian club team the last 30 years have been Olympija IHC Antwerpen (now named Olympija Heist) the club won 12 titles between 1979 -92. The last couple of years some of the stronger clubs includes IJC Herentals, White Caps Turnhout.
Phantoms Deurne and Chiefs Leuven. Not every league championship has been carried through without problems, In 1995 there was no winner declared. Before the playoffs was to begin there was a protest filed against Herentals that they used to many foreigners on their team. Herentals lost their playoff spot, but filed a counter protest and the matter went to court ! The Belgian hockey federation finally decided that there wouldn't be any champion declared for 1995.

Belgian teams have played together with Dutch teams in Cup play for many years. The Cup is named Coupe der Lage Landen and is a mix of Belgian and Dutch teams.

Mike Pellegrims in a Düsseldorf  uniform 2005


In 2007 there were seven teams playing in the Belgian championship league. HYC Herentals, White Caps Turnhout, Chiefs Leuven,Olympic Heist, Phantoms Deurne, Bulldogs Liége and Haskey Hasselt.

The biggest profiles in Belgian hockey are the before mentioned  Jef Lekens and the three generations of the Moris family. Jacques,Bob and Bob Jr. A lot of Canadian imports have played in the Belgian league since the 1940's. In 1947 the Brabo Ice Hockey Club was founded,and it was stacked with Canadian imports until the late 1950's. In later years Canadian players like Luc Tardif,Jacques Dauphinais,Bill Morgan,Benoit Quesnel and Gil Paelinck have all been dominant players in the league.

Two former NHL'ers have also played in the Belgian league. Dennis Abgrall who played 13 games for Los Angeles 1975-76 and 145 WHA games for Cincinnati 1976-78 and Glen Tomalty who played one game in the NHL for Winnipeg in 1979-80.
Some NHL picks have also played in the league. Louis Chiasson (picked in 1973 by Montréal) and Bob Peace (picked in 1973 by Toronto) just to name a few.

It's a pretty high scoring league,Canadian Gil Paelinck's  1997-98 stats saw him get 188 points (94+94) in 39 games and he was +180 in the +/- department.

The best modern Belgian player  and one of the best ever is Antwerpen born defenseman Mike Pellegrims (born in 1968). He was the "poster boy" in Belgian hockey during the 1990’s and at the start of the millenium.

Another Belgian profile is Tim Vos, a hard hitting defenseman who many times have been the heart and soul of the national team.
The first Belgian player to play professionally in North America was Mickey Jurynec (born in Genk),he was a Right Winger who as a 22-year old played for the Columbus Chill in the IHL 1972-73.

The first Belgian born player to make it to the NHL was  big tough winger Jan Benda who debuted for the Washington Capitals in October 1997. He played in nine games collecting three assists before being sent to the AHL and the Portland Pirates where he did very well. (54 points in 62 games) Benda's parents were Czechs but he was born in Belgium and learned to play hockey in Germany and later even played hockey in Canada as a junior. He have represented Germany in both the World Championships,Olympic Games and World Cup play. Even though he never played hockey in Belgium he's the first Belgian born player to make it to the NHL.
Veteran NHL goalie John Vanbiesbrouck was born in Detroit,USA but has a Belgian father. The hard hitting defenseman from the 1960's and 70's in the NHL, Ed Van Impe was also of Belgian ancestry.


22 - Royal Brussels Ice Hockey and Skating Club
11  - Olympia Ice Hockey Club
 9  - Cercle des Patineurs Liègois
 7  - Herentals Ijshockey Club
 5  - Antwerp Ice Hockey Club
 5  - Le Puck D'Anvers
 4  - Brabo Ice Hockey Club
 4  - Cercle des Patineurs Anversoises
 4 – DISC Phantoms
 3  - Olympia Antwerp Club
 3  - Club des Patineurs de Bruxelles
 2  - Cercle des Sports d'Hiver de Bruxelles
 2  - Chiefs Leuven
 2 – White Caps Turnhout
 1  - Saint-Sauveur Ice Hockey Club
 1  - Entente Saint-Sauveur de Bruxelles
 1  - Olympia Bruxelles Ice Hockey and Skating Club