First win: Armenia thrashes South Africa in Ice Hockey Championships

The world’s officially worst ice hockey team, Armenia, registered Wednesday night a smashing victory over South Africa to the delight of numerous fans at a Yerevan arena hosting the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Division III World Championships.

The 9-2 (4-1, 3-1, 2-0) final score reflected the domination of Armenian players on the rink throughout the game played at the Karen Demirchyan Sport and Concert Complex in the Armenian capital. In the other Day One match, North Korea beat Mongolia 22-1.

Armenia’s next rival is North Korea on Thursday evening. (See results and standings updates on the IIHF’s official website).

Division III is the lowest division in IIHF championships and is subdivided into two groups – A and B that have an equal status. Nations involved in each division hold annual tournaments competing for promotion to a higher group – the highest being the main 16-nation IIHF league that embraces the world’s leading ice hockey nations, such as Canada, Russia, USA, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and others.

Armenia has been an IIHF member since 1999. Currently, its main men’s team is officially ranked last among 48 participating nations. (See full rankings here).

After a fiasco in the 2005 World Division III Championships, including a 0-48 loss to Mexico, Armenia improved a little, achieving several victories, including over Ireland (6-0) and Luxemburg (10-6) in 2006. It was also that year that Armenia achieved its highest place in the Division, finishing third in the five-nation group, just outside the promotion spot.