Day: February 2, 2021

Riga to host all matches of 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship

Source: Tass Russian News Agency

The Latvian capital of Riga will be the sole host for all matches of the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship, the press service of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced on Tuesday.

“The IIHF Council has voted to confirm Riga, Latvia, as the sole host for the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, following the decision to withdraw the tournament from Minsk, Belarus,” the statement from the IIHF reads.

On January 18, the IIHF Council announced a decision to strip the Belarusian capital of Minsk of the right to host matches of the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship and to relocate them to another venue. The IIHF said in a statement that it made this decision “Due to safety and security issues that are beyond the IIHF’s control.”

“With continued uncertainty surrounding international travel restrictions, the Council believes that keeping all teams in Riga throughout the tournament and avoiding travel between two host countries is the safest and most cost-effective way to operate the event,” according to the statement.

The world’s governing body of ice hockey stated that “The main venue will be the Arena Riga in Riga and will host Group B, two quarter-final games, the semi-final round and the medal round.”

“The second venue will be the Olympic Sports Centre, which will be converted into a 6,000-capacity ice rink and will host Group A and two quarter-final games,” the statement said adding that “All 16 participating teams will be housed in one hotel.”

Matches of the 2021 IIHF World Championship in the Latvian capital of Riga and the Belarusian capital of Minsk were scheduled to be played between May 21 and June 6, 2021. However, various European public organizations called on the IIHF to relocate championship’s matches from Minsk due to a tense political situation in Belarus. Tournament’s sponsors also threatened to leave in case Belarus hosted the championship.

The IIHF Council considered three options to substitute cancelled matches in Belarus – Latvia’s Riga hosting all matches of the championship or co-hosting the championship either with Denmark’s Herning or Slovakia’s Bratislava.

From bobsleds to blades Jamaica Ice Hockey sharpens its skates

(From left) Jaden Lindo, co-captain of the LATAM Cup winning team; Don Anderson, director of JOIHF; Minister of Sports, Olivia Grange; and Teegan Moore, co-captain of the team, on the occasion of their visit to the minister after the LATAM Cup victory









Source: Jamaica Observer

Having made its initial foray in the Winter Olympic Games with the bobsled team, Jamaica is now forging ahead with plans to enter an ice hockey team as well.

The Jamaica Under-20 team in 2017 impressed many with their 5-1 victory over a Nova Scotia (Canada) All Star team, comprising the best college players in the region.

Since then the senior team competed in the Latin American (LATAM) Cup for the first time in 2019, beating defending champions Colombia, runners-up Argentina, as well as Mexico and Brazil, to win the coveted trophy. The onset of COVID-19 prevented the team from defending the trophy in 2020, but the team is gearing up to defend the trophy in September or October this year.

As part of this plan, there have been numerous developments geared towards building the sport, locally and internationally, to enable the team to play in Olympic Qualifying tournaments in the near future.

Big recruitment program under way

The Jamaica Olympic Ice Hockey Federation (JOIHF) has launched a massive recruitment drive to enlist players of Jamaican descent currently playing ice hockey in the US, Canada and Europe. So far, this totals approximately 70 players, some of whom were part of the winning LATAM team in 2019. A major drive, through all existing channels, is under way to strengthen this roster of players.

Discussions with coaches

JOIHF is currently finalising discussions with two very experienced coaches and National Hockey League (NHL) alumni, who have both expressed an interest in working with the team to defend the LATAM Cup. The coaches know each other and are prepared to partner with JOIHF as co-coaches. Former ice hockey players themselves, they each have played over 400 games in the NHL, and are now heavily involved in managing ice rinks and hockey programmers at youth and adult levels. Details are being finalised and will be released very shortly.

Additional hockey and business expertise

In addition to the co-coaches, JOIHF now has on board two other highly experienced ice hockey personnel. One is Gary Smith, who played professionally in Europe, has coached the game at the youth through adult levels, and has 24 years of experience in ice rink development, including design and equipment selection, throughout the USA. The other, Sean Caple, also a former hockey player, has managed ice rinks, developed hockey programmers, and coached teams in the USA. He was one of the original members of the ice hockey personnel that visited Jamaica in 2010, at the launch of the program, and who met with Minister of Sports Olivia Grange then.

The other recent major addition to the team is Cindi Dixon, a financial, marketing, and organizational leadership consultant, who has vast corporate and investment banking experience in the US and other regions, as well as business interests in Jamaica.

MOU with G C Foster College

Last year, JOIHF signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with G C Foster College to develop a grass-roots program, which is a prerequisite for Olympic qualifying. The curriculum for the course will fall under the coaches and business degree program, and is being developed incorporating content provided by the International Ice Hockey Federation, as well as assistance from other world-class coaching organizations.

In the meantime, the organizers of the LATAM Cup have already expressed their delight that Jamaica will be back to defend the trophy, and are eagerly awaiting the country’s participation. The tournament has already attracted significant new interest because of the excitement created by Jamaica’s participation, and ultimate victory, in 2019.

Local ice hockey team dreams big in NW China

Source: Xinhuanet

With his eyelashes covered by white frost in the frigid cold, Tangerjak shouted with joy after he drove the puck from the circle and hit it into the opponent’s goal.

This is a common winter scene for Tangerjak, a 15-year-old student who lives in Fuyun, a county known for its extreme cold in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Tangerjak was introduced to ice hockey in 2014 and has practiced regularly ever since. He is part of the only ice hockey team in Fuyun, which temperatures can plunge as low as -51.5 degrees Celsius.

“I just love this game. It’s so cool and much fun,” Tangerjak said.

Back in 2013, the residents in Fuyun, which has a total population of 24,000, barely even knew about ice hockey.

But everything changed when Zhou Xiaofeng, a PE teacher at a local school and a former speed skater, decided to form a local team.

Yet introducing an unfamiliar sport was by no means an easy job. Knowing little about it, Zhou had to watch videos online to teach herself the rules and skills, then promote the sport among local primary and middle school students.

Tangerjak’s passion was ignited the moment he heard of Zhou’s initiative, and he instantly decided to become an ice hockey player. He was not the only one who was inspired. More than 30 children aged between seven and 16 applied for the team.

At the very beginning, neither an ice rink nor sticks were available. The team had to practise on a speed skating track until the end of 2013, when a project funded the team with equipment, including protective gear, ice hockey sticks, and skates.

Wearing brand-new gear, during training sessions Tangerjak and his teammates would intentionally fall to see whether the protective equipment really worked.

In addition, thanks to the project, Zhou was able to improve herself through a professional training program held in northeast China’s Qiqihar, some 4,000 kilometers away from Fuyun.

“It was not easy for me,” she said. “But all the efforts paid off when I saw the smiles on the children’s faces.”

As Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games approach, winter sports are gaining greater popularity with the upgrading of facilities in Altay Prefecture, where Fuyun county is located.

The support from all sides has injected new momentum into the ice hockey team. Over the past seven years, three professional coaches have volunteered training, and a proper outdoor rink was built in 2018.

Tangerjak dreams of playing for his country one day in the future. “I want to watch the ice hockey matches when the Winter Olympic Games open next year in Beijing,” said Tangerjak. “Hopefully, I can become a world-class player in future.” Enditem

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