By Martin Merk – IIHF.com
The 3rd Pan-American Ice Hockey Tournament organized by the Mexican Ice Hockey Federation and endorsed by the International Ice Hockey Federation has started in Mexico City on Monday.
11 teams from Latin America compete at the Ice Dome in Mexico City this week. On the men’s side six teams compete in a round-robin event followed by medal games including two from Mexico, two from Argentina, one from Brazil and one from Colombia. Five teams are entered on the women’s side of the “Panamericano” including two from Mexico, two from Argentina and one from Colombia.
Day 1 ended with a game between last year’s finalists of the men’s tournament. One year ago newcomer Colombia with a team consisting mostly of inline hockey players upset host Mexico with a 4-3 shootout win in the gold medal game but this time Mexico won and started off on the right foot by beating Colombia 6-2. Mexico’s B-team defeated Argentina 1 by the score of 4-1 while Brazil opened the tournament with an 8-1 victory against Argentina 2.
In the five-team women’s tournament Colombia blanked Argentina 2 8-0 while defending champion Mexico beat the B-team in an internal clash 9-0.
The preliminary round continues until Saturday while the medal games in both categories will be played on Sunday.
The tournament takes place each summer and for the third consecutive year. Host Mexico is the only Latin American country with international-size indoor ice arenas and participating in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program while for the other countries the tournament is a great opportunity to compete internationally.
Argentina, Brazil and Colombia only have small indoor rinks and Argentina additionally possesses an international-size outdoor rink in the southern city of Ushuaia that can be used during winter weeks in the southern hemisphere around this time of the year. Both Argentina and Brazil have played in the IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship for many years where another South American country has also been part of the program with Chile, a country that also has ice hockey activities with the Copa Invernadas set to take place in the southern city of Punta Arenas for the fourth consecutive year from 6-10 July.