In an effort to escape the blaring Montreal heat, RealJock.com ducked into the College de Maisonneuve to catch the first game in the handball competition. We spoke to tournament director Christian Langlade about this exciting European sport.
How long have you been playing handball?
I've been playing handball for a long time now, since I was young. I played at a high level here in Quebec, but now I am retired and I coach, organize tournaments and work for Handball Quebec.
What are the most important things to know about the sport of handball?
It is like basketball in that you can dribble, take three steps with the ball in your hands and have three seconds to hold the ball before you must pass, if you are not moving. The court is 40-by-20 meters with a 2-by-3 meter goal at each end and a 6-meter circular goalkeeper zone that field players may not enter, except when taking a jump shot. [They may enter the goalkeeper zone in the air.] In fact, other than dribbling and holding the ball with two hands, the sport is very much like water polo on the land.
There is a lot of scoring in handball. It is a very fast-paced and exciting game. A typical score would be 30-25.
How is the level of competition here?
Well, we are about to see the first game, but the teams competing are not professional. This is an amateur level, so we shall see what the calibre is like.