Chris Middlebrook resigns!

by | Jun 1, 2022 | News

The legendary leader of the American Bandy Chris Middlebrook has decided to resign from the position as President of the American Bandy Association. He summarizes his great and important deed for international bandy in general and for American bandy in particular as follows:

Chris Middlebrook

“I have been a board member of the ABA since 1982. I have served two time periods as ABA President, 2004 -2022 and 1992 – 1996. From 1984 to 1992 I was President of the Minnesota Bandy Federation, which in effect ran USA Bandy. Consequently I have been in charge of USA Bandy for 32 of the 42 years we have been in existence.

I am proud of what USA Bandy has accomplished over these 42 years and during my tenure in charge: 

  • A fully functioning league every year, including during Covid, since 1980-81, currently played in 3 divisions: Elite, First Division and Rec League – allowing thousands of US athletes to play organized bandy
  • Our USA Men’s National Team has competed in every world championships since 1985 including in the Soviet Union, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Hungary and Kazakhstan.
  • Our USA Women’s National Team has competed in every world championships that have been held since the first in 2004 including in Finland, Sweden, Hungary, Norway and China.
  • The building of the artificially refrigerated rink in Roseville in 1993, The John Rose Oval,  an essential factor in USA Bandy’s ongoing ability to exist and thrive.
  • The donation of 1 million dollars by Guidant Corporation in 2005 which was necessary to keep The Guidant John Rose Oval functioning.
  • The Minnesota Legislature’s bonding bill in 2021 of 3.9 million dollars to both fix and upgrade The Guidant John Rose Oval.
  • USA Bandy hosting the following  4 World Championships at the Guidant John Rose Oval: 1995 Men’s; 2006 Women’s; 2015 U17 Girl’s; 2016 Women’s.
  • USA Bandy hosting numerous foreign bandy teams, men, women, youth from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Canada and even the Soviet Union National Team, at tournaments such as The North American Cup of Bandy, which was first played in 1984 and continues 38 years later as an annual event.
  • USA Bandy beginning a youth bandy program in the 1990s.
  • USA Bandy starting an annual summer youth bandy camp in 1999, which in 2022 has over 140 kids enrolled.
  • USA Bandy sending multiple youth teams overseas to Sweden beginning in 2002 and continuing every other year since 2007.
  • USA U15 boy’s team competing in Sweden in 2006 and  Moscow, Russia in 2007 and U17 boy’s  team competing in world championships in Archangelsk, Russia in 2017.
  • USA Bandy referees, both men and women, reffing in over 30 International tournaments including over 20 world championships.
  • In addition to outdoor/big ice bandy a summer rink bandy league formed in 1985 by Tom Howard which is now in it’s 38th year. The league is both exciting and fun and is also key to recruiting new bandy players, with over 1000 players competing since its inception.
  • The North American Rink Bandy Cup, inaugural year 1987 and continues 35 years later as an annual event, with teams from Sweden, Finland and Canada having competed.
  • 34 plus men’s and women’s USA players have played a bandy season, or part of one, for Swedish, Norwegian , Finnish and Russian teams.
  • The formation of the USA Bandy Hall of Fame, with inaugural class inducted in 2014.

Since 1984 USA Bandy has been an organization that gets things done. The ABA board members and multiple others within US Bandy, all volunteers, have contributed their time, effort and even money, to make USA Bandy what it is. In doing so they have made our very small organization into one of the top achievers in all of the world of bandy and also one of the greatest contributors to international bandy of all the many hundreds of bandy clubs that exist in other bandy countries.

My mantra while leading USA Bandy over all these years has been that we succeed because we are doers, not talkers. We have no time for those who will tell us what we should be doing or how to do it, but don’t have the time to help make things happen. As the person in charge of USA Bandy I have never embraced nor placed emphasis on focusing on bylaws or forming committees to talk about what should be done. I have instead empowered the doers to make things happen.

Beginning in the mid 80s I have been asked multiple times to become a board member of the Federation of International Bandy. Other than recently  joining FIB’s Olympic Committee, I have for almost 40 years turned down FIB’s requests. This is because I felt that my time, effort, abilities and even money were best directed towards USA Bandy,  and in making us better I would then be making a far more substantial and meaningful contribution to international bandy. I am certain that I was 100% correct in making this decision.

In my 42 years with USA Bandy I believe I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. I will be 65 years old in a couple months and I feel it is time for new, young leadership of the American Bandy Association and USA bandy.

I am certain the ABA and USA Bandy will continue to thrive and will accomplish great things in the coming years.

Although I am resigning as President of the American Bandy Association, I fully intend to continue to be active and to contribute my time, effort and money to USA Bandy.

I simply won’t be the person in charge anymore. In conclusion, I can also tell you that I am both fortunate and blessed that the magnificent sport of Bandy came into my life back in December 1980″. 

– Chris Middlebrook

The Federation of International Bandy – FIB – also wants to take the opportunity to express the greatest gratitude for the great work that Chris Middlebrook has done for bandy in the USA as chairman of American Bandy Association but also for the development of international bandy through his passion for the sport. FIB looks forward to continued good cooperation and interesting meetings at the various arenas also in the future.