Month: September 2019 (Page 1 of 2)

Brazil men’s national hockey team working hard to catch rivals

By William Douglas

Five-year-old program making strides in Latin American, Caribbean circuit

Jens Hinderlie felt like Herb Brooks.

Just like the legendary coach who led the U.S. men’s hockey team to an improbable gold medal at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, Hinderlie was tapped in 2015 for the seemingly improbable task of helping build a competitive national ice hockey team for Brazil.

“I showed up, watched all these guys play inline hockey and picked the team, essentially like Herb Brooks did,” said Hinderlie, who is from Minnesota, like Brooks, and coached ice hockey in Alaska before he moved to Brazil, his wife’s country. “Not being one too familiar with inline…I assumed it would easily translate to ice. Literally, the first day of practice when we showed up (on ice) in 2015, I had to change my entire plan for what I wanted to do and immediately bought six more hours of ice time.”

In life, you crawl before you walk. For the Brazil hockey team, most players learned to fall before they could skate. But it didn’t take them long to catch on, Hinderlie said.

“We really had to revert back to the basics: doing basic skating, learning how to fall and get up, but the guys really learned fast and picked it up quickly,” he said. “In literally in the span of four days, I taught them everything from the face-off to the break outs to really when to change lines. It came together very fast and the players were receptive.”

Brazil has been a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation since 1984, despite the absence of a regulation-sized hockey ice rink in the country. There are 330 hockey players in a nation of almost 207.4 million people

Hinderlie and his team did manage to pull off their own miracle, finishing third in Brazil’s second appearance at the Pan American Ice Hockey Tournament in 2015 in Mexico City. The third-place finish reflected improvement over Brazil’s Pan American debut in 2014 under a diffferent coach when it finished fifth with 0-4 record that included a 16-0 loss to host country Mexico.

Brazil in action vs Argentina at the Latam Cup

But at the 2019 Amerigol LATAM hockey tournament at the Florida Panthers IceDen near Miami earlier this month, Brazil’s men’s Division I and women’s teams were winless and the men’s Division II team managed only one victory.

But players left Florida pleased that they had an opportunity to get on the ice and pumped about the work ahead of them to catch up to their Latin American and Caribbean hockey rivals.

“We got a lot of exposure and all the teams have grown so much — Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico,” Brazilian player Henrique Degani said of the Amerigol Cup. “From last year to this year, that’s when I saw the game improve the most for Latin America.”

Exotic countries joined the IIHF. The largest number of countries in 27 years.

By National Teams of Ice Hockey

The world hockey family has grown to 81 members. Today five countries from Africa, South America and Asia joined the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

Algeria, Iran, Colombia, Lebanon and Uzbekistan have become new associates of IIHF today. The decision was approved at the Half-Year Congress of the IIHF. This is the biggest number of countries joining the IIHF since 1992 when the IIHF grew by ten countries following the break-up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. 

New members have associate status. This is the second of three levels of membership. It means that they will not have the right to vote at congresses. This is the status of countries that have no independent hockey management association in a given country or have such associations if they do not appear in World championships competitions. There are currently 24 associated members in IIHF. 56 countries, including Poland, have full membership, and there is one affiliated with IIHF, because it only competes in roller hockey competitions. This country is Chile.

In Algeria, relations with France are mainly responsible for the development of hockey. The team of players of Algerian origin have already competed in the Arab Cup. According to IIHF, there are 97 hockey players in the country. The Algerian government is supporting the creation of a hockey school in the city of Setif where a current and only indoor permanent ice rink is based. A permanent ice rink is planned in a new shopping mall in Baraki close to Algiers, which will become the largest mall in Africa.

Data from from IIHF says  Iran has 100 men and 103 women playing hockey. The country has 6 indoor ice rinks and 23 teams. The national team played the match for the first time in 2017, facing the Macao team which was supposed to appear in the Asian Games at that time, but were disqualified because many players did not meet the admission criteria.

Colombia began performing internationally in 2014 at the Pan-American Tournament. In the next two years Colombia won the tournament by beating Mexico. There are officially 47 hockey male players and 25 female hockey players in the country, however, a big problem is the lack of an ice rink in the country. Columbia ice hockey is derived from roller hockey.  Colombia is the fourth IIHF member from South America. Argentina and Brazil are also associated members and Chile affiliate.

In Lebanon there are 36 males and 40 women playing hockey. The national team debuted in 2017 by winning 7: 4 against Haiti. Like Colombia, Lebanon does not actually have a single ice rink. A per-existing facility in Beirut was closed a decade ago. Last season, only a 20×20 meter ice rink was built in the country’s capital.

Uzbekistan has quite a rich hockey tradition and interesting perspectives. During the Soviet times the capital of Tashkent had a hockey team, Binokor, in the Soviet system that made it up to the second-highest league of the Soviet Union. . Binokor no longer exist, but Humo Tashkent joined Russia’s second-tier league VHL and with a farm team the top league of neighbouring Kazakhstan.

With the opening of the first ice rinks, Uzbekistan has launched a championship that recently included four clubs – Binokor, Humo, Tashkent and Semurg – and the Uzbekistan Ice Hockey Federation was established on 28 March 2018.

There are currently 369 hockey players registered in the country, including 252 juniors.

Q & A With Cyril Bollers

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

Flowing the first steps of the famous Jamaican Bobsleigh team Jamaica ice hockey is forming there own identity. Jamaica joined the IIHF on May 18th, 2012 it is the first Caribbean nation to accomplish this.

On September 6th, 2019, Jamaica men’s national team played in there first international tournament against other national team at the Amerigol LATAM Cup.

We had an opportunity to speak with the head coach of the Jamaican team Cyril Bollers.

How did you get into coaching and did you ever dream that you would be coaching Jamaica National Ice Hockey Team?

I started coaching 18 years ago because I was told I couldn’t’ and shouldn’t. I have had the opportunity to work with Hockey Canada as an assistant coach with U16 Team Ontario for the Canada Winter Games in Prince George BC. Having the opportunity to coach the Jamaican Men’s National Team is unbelievable, a dream come true.

This was the first time a Jamaican men’s team competed for the country, can you tells us the processes for putting the team together?

Lengthy 4-6 month process. Numerous player evaluations (watched live games and video on potential players), invitational evaluation camp in Toronto (on ice evaluation), exhibition game (in-game evaluation) followed by more player evaluations (player observation on and off ice), then final player selection and invite to tournament.

What were your expectations going into the Latam Cup?

Heading into the Latam cup the focus was to compete and compete at the highest level. I wanted the team to push the tempo for 60 minutes while utilizing team speed in the neutral and offensive zones. Playing without the puck and communication would be the keys to the team success.

By winning the Latam Cup, what has it done for Jamaican ice hockey?

Winning the Latam Cup gives the program and the players instant credibility. 

Cyril Bollers hold up the Latam Cup Trophy

Overall what did you think of the Latam Cup and if ask will Jamaica return to this event?

This is the second year of the tournament and as grows the competition will only get better. The tournament was well run and organized. As this year’s champions we will definitely be back next season to defend our title.

There is a Canadian investor willing to build and ice rink on the north coast of Jamaica, how real is this and what would be the time frame to have this project completed?

That is a question for our business operations team, but I believe winning this tournament has accelerated the process and interest from within the country.

In your opinion, is it worth developing Ice hockey in Jamaica?

Having the opportunity to coach in both the Greater Toronto Hockey League and the Ontario Junior Hockey league, I have notice a large increase in minorities playing the sport over the last couple of years. The development of grass-roots hockey is not only imperative to the growth of the sport but to the growth of a nation.

Cyril Bollers looks on as team Jamaica compete at the Latam Cup

You are the coach of the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget team. Can you talk about this organization and how it has help you become a better coach?

Elite players, Elite coaching = Elite results. The mission of the Toronto Marlboros Hockey Club is to nurture the complete player and develop a well-rounded citizen. The Marlboros emphasize a healthy balance in hockey and life, because hockey is part of one’s life, it is not the rest of one’s life. It is a privilege for players’ and coaches’ to represent the Marlboros. We expect them to be ambassadors for the game.

In your opinion, are their any players on the Toronto Marlboros that you think may star in the NHL one day? There are numerous players playing in the NHL.

Several Marlboros are playing the the NHL and AHL; Jack Hughes (New Jersey), Quinn Hughes (Vancouver),Sam Bennett (Calgary), Josh Ho-Sang (Bridgeport AHL), Malcolm Subban (Vegas), Jason Spezza and John Tavares (Toronto), Ryan McLeod (Bakersfield AHL), Connor McDavid (Edmonton), Dylan Strome (Chicago), Ryan Strome (NY Rangers) and Jordan Subban (Dornbirner EC, EBEL)

Who are some of your favorite NHL Players and why? 

Perseverance never quits ! My favorite NHL players are  Skillz Black Aces Alumni Darnell Nurse, Josh Ho-Sang, Robby Fabbri, Brendan Lemieux, Justin Bailey, Jonathan Ang.

Главное дерби страны. СКА — ЦСКА

Авторы материала: Виталий Нестеров, Денис Комаров
National Teams of Ice Hockey

23 сентября в Континентальной Хоккейной Лиге состоялось очередное армейское дерби. Забегая вперед, выскажу, что это не то дерби, что мы видели 10 дней назад — сейчас мы видели реально равную игру. А что касается буллитов, то это, конечно, мастерство + лотерея. Послематчевые броски хоккеистов СКА были однотипные, бросками в упор, без попыток обыграть вратаря. За это петербуржцы и поплатились и ЦСКА выиграл серию буллитов. Но обо всем по порядку.

Итак, NToIH представляет вам первую статью о матче КХЛ, которую я посетил в качестве журналиста.


Чтобы получить аккредитацию на матч, нужно было всего лишь на сайте КХЛ оставить заявку на посещение матча от своего имени в качестве журналиста. Проблем с получением аккредитации не было — аккредитация была одобрена за день до игры, а получил я ее часа за три до матча.
Вооружившись пропуском практически во все места, недоступные для обычного зрителя, я с моим напарником около часа обхаживали Ледовый Дворец, общаясь с болельщиками обеих команд, а также посетили пресс-центр, где на тот момент проходил сбор стюардов. Также мы застали разминку команды ЦСКА, а нападающий Кирилл Капризов, ошибочно (от волнения), названный мной Сашей, пообещал совместное фото. Фото, которое нам так и не досталось, так как Кирилла мы после матча уже не нашли.

Разовая аккредитация на матч КХЛ


Странно, но за 40 минут до начала матча в Ледовом было очень мало народу и нас посетила мысль о том, что аншлага не будет. Но все сомнения развеялись уже ближе к началу матча — народ подоспел к стартовой сирене, а Ледовый собрал 12150 человек при вместимости в 12300.
Что удивительно, не все болельщики команды хозяев были настроены оптимистично — многие говорили о том, что ЦСКА сильнее, что игра будет тяжелая и как итог — поражение.
Попадались и болельщики СКА, которые верили даже в крупную победу своей команды.

Что касается болельщиков ЦСКА, то мы их практически не видели. Встретили лишь компанию молодых людей в форме ЦСКА и девушку, которая одиноко стояла возле своего сектора. В компании молодых людей мы нашли родственника Ванги, который предсказал, что шайбу забросит Шалунов (А он, кстати, единственный из ЦСКА кто забросил, оформив дубль), а также предсказал и точный счет. В той же компании присутствовала и «бесценная болельщица» по итогам прошлого сезона КХЛ Софья Морозова. И та компания, и «бесценная болельщица» твердили о том, что их команда победит. Чего не скажешь о болельщиках СКА. Некоторые верили в победу, а некоторые подтвердили наши опасения о том, что ЦСКА попросту сейчас сильнее. Но матч прошел в равной борьбе и закончился серией буллитов.

София Морозова (слева) — «бесценный болельщик» сезона 18\19 в компании друзей

Мы попали именно на то дерби, на которое хотели. Борьба, сейвы вратарей, упорство, непонимание того как действительно закончится матч — вот что мы увидели. В течении 60 минут мы не могли понять того, кто же станет победителем матча. И, как правило, в таких ситуациях вмешивается судьба — серия буллитов.

Все три периода прошли в нереальной борьбе. Первый период, невзирая на ничейный счет, можно оставить за армейцами Петербурга. 9-3 по броскам в пользу СКА дали нам понять, что результат последней очной встречи — чистая случайность.

На шайбу, заброшенную вторым броском Шалунова, СКА через две минуты ответил голом лучшего игрока матча — Владимира Ткачева, который также, как и Шалунов, оформил дубль.

Второй период прошел под абсолютным равенством во всех показателях, начиная от бросков и заканчивая шайбами в большинстве. ЦСКА вышел вперед, забросив в формате 5х4. СКА же ответил голом в большинстве через 5 секунд после получения оного — Владимир Ткачев на 16 минуте красиво прокатился вдоль пятака и протолкнул шайбу в домик Сорокину.

Третий период, наверное, оказался самым волнительным. По сути, должно было сработать старое правило из дворового спорта “Кто забил, тот и выиграл”. Но никто не забросил. Более того, СКА за минуту до конца периода получил преимущество в два игрока и все это время расстреливал ворота ЦСКА. Но все было тщетно.

Овертайм начался также в формате 5 на 3. Довольно редкая ситуация, когда овертайм играется в большинстве на два игрока. Но ЦСКА выстоял, честь и хвала Илье Сорокину и защите москвичей.

Что касается буллитов, то игроки СКА не пытались обыграть Илью Сорокина и бросали в упор, за что и поплатились. Единственный буллит реализовал Линден Вей. ЦСКА победил 3-2.


Досмотрев третий период, мы пошли в микст-зону ожидать игроков для интервью. Овертайм и буллиты мы смотрели уже с охраной Ледового в микст-зоне.

Первым к журналистам вышел Андрей Зубарев:

«Понадежнее сыграли в обороне, в отличие от матча с “Витязем”, потому что понимали, что любая допущенная ошибка приведет в пропущенному голу. Мы сразу после стартовой сирены пытались получить не только игровое, но и физическое преимущество, так как игра была силовая» — подытожил Андрей.

Андрей Зубарев

Следом вышел герой матча Владимир Ткачёв, который в своем 200-м матче в КХЛ отметился дублем.

«Я считаю, что мы были подготовлены и сыграли хорошо. Такие моменты, как игра 5 на 3, конечно, надо реализовывать. Будем работать на этим» — сказал Владимир в микст-зоне

Владимир Ткачев


Ожидая следующего игрока для интервью, в микст-зону вошел представитель СКА и спросил о наличии желающих посетить раздевалку команды и пообщаться с Алексеем Бывальцевым. Мы, конечно же, были в числе желающих. Немного подождав и пропустив симпатичных дам вперед, мы пообщались с нападающим. Он отметил, что игра была хорошая, СКА заставлял соперников ошибаться и удаляться. Однако реализация большинства хромает по двум причинам: невезение и доскональное изучение игры их большинства соперниками. Но Алексей пообещал, что команда поработает над большинством


Если честно, то мы не планировали посещать послематчевую пресс-конференцию. По пути к выходу из Ледового мы встретили идущего на пресс-конференцию главного тренера ЦСКА Игоря Никитина. Договорившись о фото после матча, мы, конечно же, развернулись и прошли на свои места в пресс-центре.

Игорь Никитин: «Игра была хорошая, но тяжелая. В конце глупостей наделали. Но ребята молодчики (привет Андрею Скабелке) вытерпели»

Алексей Кудашов: «Первый и третий период были хороши по движению. Во втором периоде ЦСКА нас немного зажал, но мы выстояли. А в конце третьего периода, конечно, надо было реализовывать свои моменты. Что касается исполнения буллитов, то хоккеисты сами решали как их исполнять, требований к ним не было»


Мы, естественно, бесконечно довольны походом на главное дерби страны в качестве журналистов. Фотографии и впечатления останутся в нашей памяти навека

Спасибо командам за прекрасный хоккей, а пресс-службу СКА за предоставление аккредитации на самый важный матч регулярного чемпионата

Bulbul Kartanbay is first Kazakh athlete to play in National Women’s Hockey League

Kartanbay has become the first Kazakh athlete to play in NWHL

By Zhanna Shayakhmetova – The Astana Times

Left wing forward Bulbul Kartanbay has become the first Kazakh athlete to play in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) after signing Aug. 16 with the Metropolitan Riveters. 

“We are really proud to welcome Bulbul to the Riveters and the NWHL. Her skill, dedication to the game and incredible enthusiasm will make her a valuable player for our team and a favourite of the fans,” said general manager Kate Whitman Annis.

According to the release, Kartanbay, 26, has been in the Kazakhstan National Team system since she was a teenager, putting up six points in 10 games in a pair of U18 World Junior Championships. She made her senior team debut at 18, has competed in five World Championships and played for Tomiris Astana and Aisulu Almaty of the Kazakhstan Women’s League. Last season, Kartanbay had eight goals and 21 assists for 29 points in 21 games with the Calgary Coyotes of the Southern Alberta Women’s Hockey Association.

Kartanbay started playing hockey at age 13 at the sports school for gifted children in Almaty. At first, she played football, but since she could not combine training with study, her parents began to look for another school. 

“The start of the season is always exciting. I hope this season will be great for me and my team. I also hope the experience I get from playing games and practicing at this level will help with my development. I also hope the Riveters will be successful in our pursuit of winning the Isobel Cup,” Kartanbay said in an interview for The Ice Garden after signing the contract. 

Kartanbay’s assent started in 2017 when she met former Toronto Furies General Manager Sami Jo Small, who advised her to play in the American or Canadian hockey leagues.

“Unfortunately, I had some visa issues and I couldn’t play for the Boston Blades for the 2017-18 season. In 2018, I got the visa and I was invited to join the Calgary’s training camp. I played this season at the Southern Alberta Women’s Hockey Association in Canada,” Kartanbay told The Astana Times. 

This summer, she participated in free agent camps with the Minnesota Whitecaps and Buffalo Beauts. 

“Actually, I was also offered a contract from a second NWHL team, but I decided to play for the Riveters,” she said. 

Kartanbay is currently involved in pre-season hockey training programmes in New Jersey.

“Of course, the trainings we have here are different from those we had in Kazakhstan. We have a training programme specially designed for ice and off-ice workouts. Our coaches, who are also rehabilitologists, pay attention not only to physical training, but also to mental health. I really like this approach. The workouts are diverse, intense and interesting,” she said. 

Adapting to her new surroundings was an easy process, she noted, as the team and coaches are friendly and ready to help in any situation.

“I enjoy playing hockey. I am happy to be a part of this team. This is my dream,” she said. 

On Women’s Equality Day, Kartanbay posted a message to thank NWHL sponsors and inspire female athletes globally. 

“Women’s hockey is not popular in my country. Many people told me ‘This kind of sport is not for girls,’ but I have my own opinion, my own right, my own views on life,” she said. 

In total, 171 Kazakh female players are registered with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). As of September, the national team is 19th in the IIHF Women’s World Ranking.

Launched in 2015, NWHL has five teams – the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters and Minnesota Whitecaps. The league’s main trophy is the Isobel Cup. 

The Metropolitan Riveters, previously known as the New York Riveters, are based in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey.

Q & A With Scott Killips

Scott Killips head coach of Puerto Rico national team

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

When you think of Puerto Rico Ice Hockey is not the first sport that pops into your head its Baseball, but for Scott Killips hockey is his life and when he had the opportunity to coach Puerto Rico National Ice Hockey Team at the Latam Cup he jump on it. We caught up with Scott and ask him a few question about hockey on the island and the Latam Cup.

How did you get into coaching and why sledge hockey?

My Father, and my Great Uncle were both hockey coaches out of Sault Ste Marie Michigan, so I’ve always had the “coaching bug”.I’ve played hockey my entire life & I got into coaching hockey back in 1993 in Central Michigan. We were a new organization coming from an outdoor program and moving indoors into a new building. Being a part of a new program afforded me a lot of opportunities to learn at many levels. When I relocated to West Michigan several years later, a similar opportunity arose with starting a relatively new program which I became a part of.  Once we moved to Florida about 5 years ago, my son was just finishing up his youth hockey and I inquired into coaching again. I was put in touch with Ron Robichaud from Florida Sled Hockey and immediately became a fan of sledge hockey. 

I’ve coached from the ADM all the way up, I was never exposed to sled hockey until coming to Florida and it didn’t take long to “sink the hooks in”. At the time, Ron had run 2 programs, 1 in Ft Myers at a recreational level and another team as a state-wide Florida Elite level.

Watching those athletes play a game I’ve coached and played most of my life was incredible. It’s the same game, just played differently. The physical nature of the game of sled hockey is what really got me excited to Coach again. Although the game is similar, the training, equipment, conditioning & dexterity and agility are way different. Even though its basically the same game; as a coach, sled hockey gives you a different perspective of the game.

Ron and I won a National Championship in the NHL Sled Classic hosted at the Panther Den in 2015. The banner is still hanging there today. That was a tournament to remember! We ran a sled hockey clinic in Aguadilla Puerto Rico shortly after that and it went over very well. The people in the area from the Mayor on down were incredibly welcoming and excited to see hockey come to them. We had  a representative from the Panthers organization along with us that ran an outdoor hockey clinic and gave sticks & nets to the community. In the future, we are hoping to start programs there for the youth, adult and disabled community.

How did you hear about Puerto Rico ice hockey. Why did you want to coach them?

There’s a saying in hockey “85% of coaching is 95% recruiting I don’t know much about how the other teams came to fruition, but ours came at the hands of Ron Robichaud the teams G.M. He literally handled this thing from pillar to post! He assembled the team, paid the fees, ordered the jerseys, sticks, shirts, booked the rooms, contacted players/other G.Ms scheduled scrimmages, ordered merchandise, the whole 9-yards. And he did it all in about 90 days!! #notabigdeal –)

Ron has a lifetime of hockey experience and contacts around the globe, literally. He knew that I would be interested in Coaching the team and I was Humbled and Honored when he asked me to coach this team. 

The caliber of players that Ron assembled in that short amount of time made things very easy for me as a Coach. The hockey I.Q of this team was very high and they came together very quickly over a short period of time. If all skill levels are equal, these types of tournaments are usually won by those team that bond the quickest & make the least amount of mistakes. As a Coach, you couldn’t ask for a better locker room of players. Our team was comprised of all ages 53-16 years old. I believe that we had the only co-ed team in the tournament as well as the smallest bench. That just goes to show the character level of all the players we had on this team.

This tournament meant something to each and every person involved with it and I sincerely hope that the people of P.Rico appreciate the commitment that was made from everyone involved in this event. We had players traveling from the island , from Chicago, D.C and the Carolinas. We had a father and three of his sons representing the island as well. I cannot imagine how excited he was, not only to represent his country, but to do it with his three boys as well! By the way, he got our first goal as well…..#notabigdeal..wink

What were the expectations Going into the Latam Cup?

We honestly had no idea what to think about our team until we assembled them the day of the first game. We knew we had some good hockey players because of their backgrounds & where they played; however; we honestly had no idea what skill level that we had in totality. We had a scrimmage the night before vs Mexico that went pretty well; however a couple of teammates could not be there, so it was nice to see how quickly they figured each others playing styles and who works best where.

It’s very easy to “over-coach” or inject yourself as a coach into the team, but I’ve found that allowing the team to work things out among themselves adds to the continuity of the team. In my experience, coaching is not done from the bench anyways. You have to read and react to certain situations that you or your other coaches see, but those are adjustments. Coaching is made from analyzing what your teams strengths are and what your opponents weaknesses are and making a game plan for your next opponent. The credit for this teams success lies in the G.M who got the right mix and the players who executed.

Puerto Rico made to the final of division II but lost. Do you think you could none anything different that might of changed the outcome?

We went into this tournament with nothing else in mind than to win it. I think any team you put together for this type of tournament, you hope that is their mentality.

We had several chances in the first period to jump into an early lead, but we couldn’t cash in..We moved the puck well, we played our game, We had everything we needed to win, speed through the neutral-zone, rushes from our defense and strength down the middle of the ice. We played hard and fast hockey, which was our style of game, but when you are not getting the bounces and things start going the other way, things tend to be like quicksand; the harder you try, the worse they get.

At the same time, they capitalized on the chances that they got. A little “puck-luck” and a bounce or two and we were right back in the game. but it didn’t work out. Bottom line is that we lost to a very good R.O.T.W team who’s goaltender played outstanding…..I think our team left everything they had on the ice and that’s all you can really ask for.

Overall what do you think about the talent level and Latam Cup in general?

I read a good majority of the player bios before attending the Cup, so I was not surprised at the skill levels of the players or coaches. There are some seriously good hockey players involved in this and that’s a great thing. The speed and skill levels of some of these teams was great!  If anything kinda took me by surprise it was the amount of fans and supporters in the stands and the amount of teams and divisions! It was truly something to see with the fans waiving banners and flags, singing and cheering for their respective teams. That was, by far , the best thing about the tournament for me. The amount of people who traveled for this to support their teams was amazing! This was a very well run tournament in all respects.

With the Ice rink in Puerto Rico almost complete, will Puerto ice hockey invest in youth programs?

Well, we don’t have any kids skating yet.. Until we get the boards up, that first layer of ice down and that first player signed up we really can’t hang our hats on anything quite yet. There’s a long-long road ahead and a ton of work to be done! From what we have experienced on our last trip to Puerto Rico with the introductions to sled and street hockey; I think the timing is right, the community certainly support is there as well.

But we still need funds to make this a reality, not just for a shirt-term, but to really put Puerto Rico on the “Hockey Map” long-term. Once the infrastructure is in place, then we can start building a youth & disabled programs and that’s what is truly exciting! It’s exciting to be part  of Growing the Game in the Caribbean! If you had asked me this question 10 years ago about youth hockey in Puerto Rico, I would have though you had a “few too many with the fellas”, but seeing this movement grow in all of these countries and being a part of it is truly amazing and something that I am honored to be a part of!

Do think the game can grow on the Island giving that Baseball is such a big sport and cheaper sport to play?

The financial aspect of the game of hockey is always a tough one. With any project you have, you begin with the end in mind..So, starting things off with a budget to work with is paramount in growing and maintaining this game in any area..It’s certainly going to take more than a few hands on deck, right?  We are going to need long-term, established sponsors who are committed to see this through. Sponsors who not only want to be a part of growing the game of hockey, but who see an incredible opportunity here for long-term, sustainable product growth. The game of hockey has grown exponentially over the last decade or so. The amount youth, adult, disabled, women’s and girls teams continues to grow, so there is a real opportunity here for someone to step in and make this work. U.S.A Hockey exists primarily on volunteers, so essentially, manpower is the easy part. It’s going to be the long term, committed sponsors/donors that make the game of hockey thrive or simply chug-along (in my humble opinion) I’m excited to see what the NHL has in store for supporting the game in this region.

There are now two Caribbean nations that play hockey yourselves and Jamaica. Do think the game can spread to other Caribbean nations in the near future?

Why Not? I mean 10 years ago would you ever have thought there would be a Jamaican or Puerto-Rico hockey team? Not me, I also never thought there would be a NHL team in Arizona, or Anaheim for that matter Las Vegas, Seattle! How about China, Japan, Netherlands, Korea? Even the Middle East is developing hockey teams on a competitive level, so why not the Caribbean? Not only are these teams competitive, but the markets there are very supportive of their teams and again, the minor leagues, the youth teams, women’s teams, disabled teams are booming! But again, it’s the long-term financial commitment that’s going to be the difference between those programs who excel and those who fall flat. Hockey is for Everyone Right! So lets Grow the Game!

When you are not coaching, what do like to do in your spear time?

I love to fish and spend time with my kids and grand kids.I have three children, 2 all grown and out of the house, but one left. My daughter, son law &  granddaughter are in Naples, so we get to see them a lot. My boys still skate every so often with me in Ft Myers, so it’s really a treat when I get to experience that! There’s not a lot of those experiences left in the tank, so I tend to really appreciate those times when it happens.

My wife and I are coming up on 26 years of marriage and for most of those 26 years we have been in and out of hockey rinks! We just battled through stage 3 breast cancer this past year and that was a tough battle. So we plan on traveling in the next few years. Maybe visit a few rinks south of Florida (wink wink).Hockey has brought so many great people into our lives that I don’t really know what it’s going to be like as I step away from the game. Thank you for this opportunity! IF you need anything else, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Latam Cup Round-Up

By Ryan Bahl – National Teams of Ice Hockey

The LATAM Cup is a development tournament for players from the Americas with a focus on Latin American and the Caribbean. This year’s tournament included four divisions including Men’s Div 1, Men’s Div 2, U16, and Women’s. The Women’s Division hosted Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil with Argentina beating Colombia 4-2 in the final. The U16 division hosted Argentina, Colombia, Stanley (Falklands) and USA with Colombia beating Argentina 3-1 in the finals to take gold. The Men’s Div 2 hosted Puerto Rico, Rest of the World (the Falklands), Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. The ROTW team beat Puerto Rico 6-2 and won the Div. 2 title. The top Men’s Division hosted Jamaica, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Brazil with Jamaica beating Colombia 4-2 in the top division in double overtime.

Argentina and Colombia had great showings as they were the only two countries represented at every level. Colombia finished in the top 3 in each of it’s respected divisions. Each division had a different country win their respected title as well (Jamaica, ROTW, Argentina, Colombia).

For me personally – I played with the ROTW team made up of primarily British nationals and Commonwealth citizens who have either lived or worked in the Falkland Islands (the smallest nation to ever play ice hockey). The level of play was naturally a bit mixed in the 2nd division because teams were made up of inline players, dek hockey players, and ice hockey players, some of whom have never skated on a full sized ice rink before (including our very own players Sam Cockwell and Claudio Ross with ROTW). For a lot of countries represented in this tournament – they primarily play inline hockey because they do not have access to ice or only get to play ice maybe once or twice a year.

The top men’s division was a bit better (in terms of skill level) compared to the second division with most players living and playing in North America. For example – some of the Jamaican team included players playing or living in Canada. These players do of course have direct ties and family members residing or from Jamaica. Access to ice and high-level competitive hockey is obviously more available throughout North America. Players in division one also included current professional players playing throughout North America. The main difference in skill level between these divisions was really just the access to ice and how often players from these teams are able to skate and play.

The U16 and Women’s divisions ended up being really competitive as well with Colombia and Argentina playing each other in both finals and with one team winning each division (Colombia U16 and Argentina for Women’s). A lot of players from both teams and both divisions arrived early in Florida to attend a Goalie and Sniper camp in order to get more ice time leading up to the tournament.

It’s been a few days since the tournament and I have already seen tremendous support pour in on social media including posts and shares from the NHL, IIHF, Spittin’ Chiclets Podcast, National Teams of Ice Hockey, and many others.

Overall, the tournament exceeded my expectations and was ran very professionally with some major sponsors onboard (Warrior Hockey and the Florida Panthers). Juan Carlos and the Amerigol Team did an amazing job bringing together 21 teams and 360 players to such an important development cup for Latin American teams and players. I would love to continue my involvement with this cup and can’t wait to see what next year brings!

Jamaica boosts Olympic hockey dreams with LATAM Cup championship

By William Douglas –

R. Oliver Mair said some friends gave him puzzled looks when he told them that he planned to watch Jamaica play hockey over the weekend.

“When I made the announcement that Jamaica was going to play in hockey everybody was, like, ‘Who? Jamaica?'” said Mair, the Caribbean nation’s counsel general in Miami. “I mean, the [Jamaica Olympic] bobsled thing happened years ago but ice hockey, this is a surprise.”

Jamaica shocked the 2019 Amerigol LATAM Cup on Sunday by defeating defending champion Colombia 3-2 in a shootout at the Florida Panthers IceDen.

It feels unbelievable, we just made history,” said Jamaica forward Jaden Lindo, who was selected in the sixth round (No. 173) of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. “This is something that Jamaica is never going to forget.”

Jamaica’s team was comprised of players, like Lindo, 23, who are of Jamaican lineage but live and play hockey in Canada and elsewhere.

Colombia also had its share of foreign-born players, including forward Michael Nijjar, a Los Angeles native who is a minority owner of the Vegas Golden Knights.

It also had a few elite players including Daniel Echeverri, a Medellin-born defenseman who scored Colombia’s first goal of the game in the second period. Echeverri, 29, appeared in 52 games for Macon of the Southern Professional Hockey League and Greenville of the ECHL in 2017-18.

Jamaica and Colombia, countries without ice rinks, were playing for a Cup — but each was also playing to prove a point.

Jamaica was trying to show that its effort to establish a hockey program to someday compete in the Winter Olympics is worthy of financial and fan support. Its roster had only one player who was born on the island. But the team earned a huge fan in Mair, who wore a yellow, green and black soccer jersey under his suit jacket as he watched the games Sunday.

“I’m super-impressed. They are dominating play, I’m so proud of them,” Mair said. “This is going to bring a lot of motivation, a lot of people are going to be inspired. I’m in awe of how well they are playing.”

The reaction to the team went from “Jamaica who?” to a prominently placed feature story Sunday in the Jamaica Observer, published in Kingston, about its tournament performance.

For Colombia, the tournament was about trying to solidify its place in the Latin American hockey hierarchy after it defeated a team from Mexico last year to win the inaugural Amerigol Cup. Colombia has also defeated Mexico, a country that does have ice rinks, at Pan American ice hockey tournaments.

“This really decides who the powerhouse in Latin America is,” Colombia coach Sam Uisprapassorn, a resident of Orange County, California, said of the Amerigol tournament. “Whether the team is affiliated with an International Ice Hockey Federation member or not, this is really setting the bar. You have a very, very strong program in Mexico. We’ve cemented our place in the Latin American hockey community, and then we have the up and comers, teams like Argentina and Brazil.”

Colombia didn’t leave the Amerigol Cup — which featured more than 400 players, 21 teams and four divisions — empty-handed. It won the tournament’s Under-16 division by defeating Argentina 3-1.

Falkland Islands team won the men’s Division II championship, defeating Puerto Rico 6-2. Argentina won the women’s title with a 4-2 victory against Colombia.

Jamaica Wins in International Ice Hockey Tournament Debut in South Florida

By Caribbean National Weekly

Playing in their first international ice-hockey international tournament at the Florida Panthers ice den located at 3299 Sportsplex drive in Coral Springs, Florida, Jamaica’s men ice-hockey team were convincing winners defeating Colombia 5 – 0 in their first game and later defeating Argentina 8 – 4.

For many people it may be difficult to associate Jamaica, a tropical nation, with ice-hockey; field hockey, yes, but ice-hockey? But on Friday the Jamaicans proved that they are a formidable, talented team on skates and on ice-making their debut in the Amerigil-Latam tournament.

In 2014, Jamaica was granted associate member status in the international ice hockey federation (IIHF), and since has developed a talented under-age 20 team which have been playing regularly in Canada.

Jamaica was invited to compete in the Amerigil-Latam tournament to play against Latin American countries at the senior men’s level. Jamaica is playing in the first division against Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina.

Players of Jamaican citizenship and/or descent attended an evaluation camp in Toronto this spring. Players from Canada, USA, and the United Kingdom were evaluated vying for a position and a rare opportunity to represent Jamaica on the ice. Some of the young men from the under 20 team are included in the roster of the team playing in the South Florida tournament.

The Jamaicans will be up against Brazil at 3:00 pm on Saturday and according to tournament experts are favorites to win this game also.

Winter Games NZ: Ice Blacks beat Australia to snare historic series win in Queenstown

The Ice Blacks on Friday made history by recording back-to-back series wins against Australia for the first time

By Stuff

The New Zealand Ice blacks have won back-to-back series against rivals Australia for the first time. 

Piggybacking on their game one success at Winter Games NZ in Queenstown, the Kiwis beat the Aussies 5-3 on Friday night to snare the Trans-Tasman Challenge Cup.

With a series sweep on the cards, times certainly have changed since the Aussies recorded a world record 58-0 shellacking of the Kiwis in Perth in 1987.

Australia struck first in game two courtesy of an early loose-puck goal swept into the net by Patrick Nadin. However, the Ice Blacks weren’t down for long, as the dynamic top line duo of Liam Stewart and Matt Schneider combined for a gorgeous goal shortly thereafter.

New Zealand goaltender Csaba Kercso Magos left a few juicy rebounds lingering in the crease, and finally Australia were able to poke another over the goal line as Jonathan Bremner batted a quick goal in after a series of attempts.

The Roos were dominant for the remainder of the period, but all that possession time was for nothing as the final goal of the period was scored by the Ice Blacks.

Debutant Ondrej Kozak drifted into the offensive zone and patiently outwitted both his defender and goalkeeper Charlie Smart to dish the puck to Ben Gavoille. The horn blew with the score knotted up 2-2.

The second frame started with an early power play for Australia, and high-scoring skater Wahebe Darge combined with Kai Miettinen for the go-ahead goal, sending the Roos up 3-2.

New Zealand leapt on the opportunity to tie things up on the power play, however, with Matt Schneider scoring his second of the game down low on the man advantage.

The Ice Blacks weren’t done with their second-period scoring yet as Kozak and Gavoille combined for their second goal of the game, a beauty of a top-shelf goal that’s certainly going to make the rounds on the highlight reels.

The third period was shorter on goals but not on action, with tempers threatening to simmer over as both teams threw some big hits.

Australia got some power-play opportunity but weren’t able to convert. In fact, the only goal of the period came courtesy of Liam Stewart, who sailed into the Roos zone past all four defenders for a beautiful solo effort goal that put the Ice Blacks up 5-3.

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