As this year's Inline Hockey season drew to a close, the 35 invited Year-End Championship finalists showed a marked improvement over the season.
Games were much closer than at the start during the opening tourneys, with most competitions decided by two goals or less while many went into thrilling overtime. In addition, the championship was punctuated by a number of upsets, illustrating the growth and confidence of the teams as the final whistle signaled the end of this year's championship.
Starting off in the 8 and under-age category, 3rd placed Scorpions managed to squeak past the season's silver medalists, Kamikaze, securing their place in the finals against the first seed, Coastal Pirates.
In the finals, the Scorpions demonstrated that a lower season seed could take the much-coveted NIIHA championship banner.
In contrast, in the 10 and under-age, as well as the 12 and under-age categories, coastal outfit Pirates showed that their season's gold medal was no fluke by winning the NIIHA championship in their respective age divisions.
In the 14 and under-age category, silver medalists Cazadores showed superior hockey skills in the finals by edging the season's winners - Badgers - to clinch the championship banner in this particular category.
In the high school category, Badgers, who were the third-seeded team in the regular season, edged passed the season's silver medalists, Coastal Pirates, to compete in the finals against Cazadores, while taking the championship banner home to the Badgers rink.
In the ladies category, it was evident that teams had overcome serious hurdles at the beginning of the season, since the final results after every game were so close - leaving the seasoned Badgers team to require a penalty shoot-out to win the banner against the young Scorpions.
In the masters and ladies masters categories, Coastal Pirates and Windhoek-based Kamikaze teams were pitted against each other in both finals.
Although Pirates managed to beat the first seeds and secure the banner for this category, the Kamikaze ladies masters maintained their dominance - bringing home the one and only banner for their club.
In the open category, Pirates, doubtlessly the undisputed season gold medalists, took home the championship banner after displaying dominance against the 3rd seeded Kamikaze in the championship finals.
The Inline Hockey season has come to a close for most players. However, for a number of players, who have enrolled to compete at NARCh in Toronto and at the FIRS World Championships in California, this is a seamless beginning into the new season as they attend the trials slated for November 30 - December 02, 2012.