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Global Online Hockey Association (GOHA) was established in 2006 and is the largest and oldest fully-functioning hockey league inside Second Life®. GOHA is an independent virtual sports organization managed by Jack Belvedere, Katia Ixtab and Marjan Tomba. The Mission of GOHA is to provide, manage, and promote virtual hockey inside the virtual world of Second Life®, at all levels of ability; to assist participants in their various forms of involvement with the game; to provide clear rules and promote adherence to all the rules of the game; and to encourage and facilitate the involvement of as many people as possible in the activities. GOHA's major effort is to provide an opportunity for all online participants, regardless of physical, financial or computer limitations, to achieve their own maximum potential for enjoyment and competition in the virtual online game, provide social opportunities, and maintain an enjoyable online hockey community.
GOHA (Global Online Hockey Association) was originally known as SLH and later as SLHA. Due to limits on the use of Second Life® in group names, the group was renamed in 2009 as GOHA.
Jack Belvedere initiated the formation of the league and built the first rink. He joined in 2004 and had found the hockey rink at Spittoonie owned by Trimda Hedges, but no active league. Desiring to bring active ice hockey to SL, Jack built the first rink at Jericho Hill and continues to act as the community leader and league commissioner. Jack was assisted in the original formation of the league by Weis Hickman, Katia Ixtab and Marjan Tomba.
The league is non-profit. People wishing to join the league are free to do so regardless of financial status. The philosophy of the league is that it should be free to join and play, with members acting as a community by voting and discussing issues on rules, expansion, and general direction. All equipment and jerseys are free and are produced by Merrik Caproni and Kacey Rossini.
The original rink is located on Jericho Hill. This sim inside Second Life® is owned by Jack Belvedere and Katia Ixtab.
The league started with two teams, the Whales and the Wolves. In season 2, the league expanded to 4 teams. The Cobras and the Moose were formed. Scheduling and rules became more complicated and intense as the expansion took place. Team captains took over major roles in the league, arranging practices and organizing their teams. Weis Hickman assisted with the building of a new rink and the organization of many aspects of the league. Next, a European division was formed in order to allow persons from European time-zones to participate in the games. The Pandas and the Ravens were created for this division. The two divisions, North American and European, will occassionally play each other at the end of the season.In Season 7, in preparation for some extensive growth both in and out of the Second Life® world, the league changed its name to GOHA (Global Online Hockey Association). They also linked up with a second sim, TreeSong, owned by Anhayla Lycia. The spectators are located on one sim with the players on another, greatly helping with lag without any compromise for our fans to see the action.
Over the years, with increasing members, the league continued to expand. As of 2011, there are 8 North American teams and 4 European teams.
North American Teams: Cobras, Ice Lords, Mammoth, Moose, Mustangs, Polar Bears, Whales and Wolves.
European Teams: Blades, Foxes, Ravens and Storm.
GOHA exists not simply as a sporting event but a full-fledged community, offering many activities for residents to get together and be a part of social events as well as the competitive hockey seasons. GOHA members follow a Code of Conduct which helps to keep the entire community a friendly, fun place to be. Longtime friendships and even real life romances have formed out of the community.
The hockey game was originally scripted by Alex Jevon in 2006. Following the initiation of Havok, Neo Elytis (the creator of The Wastelands) was hired to help revamp the game script. This script was modified by longtime league member and professional scriptor Dyz Warburton of Dyzware. The game offers realistic game play and animations and rules based on NHL play, with GOHA's own developed modifications to meet Second Life® demands. GOHA continues to update and add member-requested features with an aim of continuing to offer the premier inworld ice hockey activity to Second Life® Residents.
GOHA was proud to introduce the most detailed automated statistics system to hit Second Life®. It offers up-to-the-minute stats on +/-, goals, assists, scores, penalties, player history, awards, and much more.
GOHA has a partnership with TreetTV, formerly known as SLCN. Treet broadcasts hockey games on Sundays for SL residents. Longtime GOHA members Kert Upshaw and August Lusch are involved with announcing games and are GOHA's liasion with TreetTV.
Chamonix City/CPPIn 2010, the GOHA community became involved in a special Linden Lab project called the Community Partnership Project.The Community Partnership Program is a collaboration focused on expanding Linden Lab's™ relationship with large inworld communities. The purpose of this program is to improve the Mainland and create a rich and innovative overall Second Life® experience for all. The CPP provided additional space which resulted in expansion off the coast of the Snow Sims of Sansara (the original mainland continent), with a bridge connecting the 6 sims at Braggiani. This area was named Chamonix City, after the site of the original Winter Olympics, and consists of Off Sides, Neutral Zone, Cross Check, Empty Net, Breakaway and Blueliner. Along with the original rink on Jericho Hill, rinks now exist on Blueliner and Empty Net. Spectators view the games from Cross Check on the north and south edges, overlooking the rinks.
Chamonix City also offers skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, hiking trails, freebies, balloon rides and has several other winter sports projects in development as of 2011 including bobsledding.
Winterfest 2010Chamonix City and GOHA hosted Second Life®'s annual Winterfest party in December of 2010. Winterfest organizers Katia Ixtab, Ashlene McMinnar, Marjan Tomba, Dyz Warburton, Kalita Magic, Tangle Giano, Lobo Rodriquez, Janieke Blanchard, and Anhayla Lycia arranged the many activities such as the Ski Jump, Scavenger/Puck Hunt, Snowman Building Contest, and musical acts. GOHA members assisted to help man the teleport landing spot, welcome and direct visitors, and to help host the multitude of events. Linden Lab employees who assisted with the event included Blondin Linden, Courtney Linden, Michael Linden, Torley Linden and Delby Linden.
There was a great lineup of live music for the weeklong event: Mankind Tracer, Noma Falta, Guitar Zane, Andreus Gustafson, The Follow, Reggie Sunset, Jimmyt49 Dukes, CCTV Giant, Tamra Sands, XanderNichting Writer, Skye Galaxy, Jean Munro, Keiko Takamura, Phemie Alcott, CraigLyons Writer, TwinGhost Ronas, Louis Volare, Dann Numbers, Lance Rembrandt, Buckley Moonwall, Maximillion Kleene (original GOHArian!), David Csiszer, Mimi Carpenter, and Edward Kyomoon.
Marjan Tomba created a popular new ski jump which opened during Winterfest, and Lancelot Skytower created balloon tours across the sims. Live DJ Bonfire parties were a great relaxing end to several evenings, provided by Ashlene McMinnar/Merrik Caproni, and DJ Mac Ronas from The Underground. Lobo Rodriquez organized a fantastic All-Star's Hockey Game, with special uniforms made by Merrik Caproni and the game filmed on TreetTV.
The highlight of the week was the traditional Lindens Vs. Residents Snowball fight, which was held on the Breakaway sim, and eventually had to be spread out to 3 sims due to the amount of traffic. The visitors, with many Linden in attendance, managed to crash the sim in good spirits many times before the event was moved out to the Cross Check sim and even the Empty Net snow maze.
League Direction and Growth
The GOHA community continues to grow with a goal of enriching the Second Life® experience. Jack Belvedere and Marjan Tomba currently involved in projects such as the Virtual Sports Bureau aimed at increasing the visibility of sports and community as a whole inside the virtual world.