Category: Asia (Page 1 of 13)

An agreement on the establishment of the Association for the Development of Ice Hockey of Islamic Countries was signed in Kazan

Source: Kazan hockey Cup

On January 17, at the international hockey forum of the first tournament among Islamic countries, the KazanHockey cup, the first meeting of the working group of the Association for the  Development of Hockey of Islamic Countries took place.

Delegates from 13 countries, leaders of the hockey federations of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Oman, Bahrain, Iran, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkey and representatives of the Ice Hockey Federation of the Republic of Tatarstan agreed on cooperation and interaction in the development of hockey, organization of joint sports tournaments, exchange of experience between federations.

The President of the Tatarstan Ice Hockey Federation, Nail Maganov , was elected as the head of the international Association with headquarters in Kazan  . President of the Ice Hockey Federation of Kyrgyzstan Anvar Omorkanov was elected Vice-President in the Asian region, President of  the UAE Winter Sports Federation  Hamel Al- Qubeisi was elected Vice-President in the Middle East region .

The purpose of the organization is the development of hockey in states with the leading religion of Islam, the development and popularization of hockey in the regions of Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Cooperation will allow countries to adopt the experience of Russian hockey, train players, coaches and referees and gain access to methods for training young hockey players.

Anvar Omorkanov , President of the Ice Hockey Federation of Kyrgyzstan:

– Tatarstan has a long history of hockey development, there is the country’s leading club Ak Bars, where the best hockey players of the country play, the best training conditions have been created for the players on the basis of the team. We are amazed at the level of infrastructure for children’s and adult hockey, and we are also very pleased that we were able to take part in such a tournament.

Cooperation with the Ice Hockey Federation of Tatarstan will be a great impetus for the development of hockey in Islamic countries. By adopting the experience of the leaders of the hockey world, our colleagues from the Middle East and Africa will be able to do even more to promote and develop our game.

There are still many Islamic countries in the world where hockey is also played, and our organization will grow. One of the goals of the association is to include hockey in the Islamic Solidarity Games, which will give our sport even more momentum.

Hamel Al-Qubeisi , President of the UAE Winter Sports Federation:

– Many thanks to Kazan and Tatarstan for their hospitality, we thank the participants for the tournament, the forum and our meeting. We are glad that now our cooperation in the field of hockey is reaching a new level. The popularity of hockey in our countries is growing, in the UAE the demand for classes already exceeds our capabilities, especially hockey is attractive to girls.

The conditions of Tatarstan for the development of sports impressed all the guests, and it was not in vain that we chose Kazan as the headquarters of our new organization. It is the northernmost capital of the Islamic world and the hockey leader among Muslim regions. We are confident that through our joint work we will achieve high results and do our best for the development of hockey in the world.

The First Hockey Tournament Among Teams of Islamic Countries & The Republic of Tatarstan

Source: The Ice Hockey Federation of the Republic of Tatarstan

From January 14 to January 17, the first ice hockey tournament among teams of Islamic countries and the Republic of Tatarstan will be held in the city of Kazan at Tatneft Arena and the Sports Palace. The event was organized following the decisions of the international summit “Russia – Islamic World: Kazan Summit 2022”.

12 male and 5 female amateur teams will take part in the competition. Hockey players from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Oman, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan will play in the men’s division, players from Algeria, Morocco and Lebanon will form a combined team. Tatarstan will be represented by the Ak Bars team and the hockey team of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan. The men’s teams are divided into three divisions. They will play each other in a round-robin format.

On January 17 at 19:00, a gala match will take place on the ice of the Tatneft Arena, in which the best players of each team will take part

Athletes from Tatarstan, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will compete in the women’s Division. The five women’s teams will play in one group, and the two best of teams will advance to the final

The opening match of the tournament will be held on January 14 at the Sports Palace at 13:00.

Tournament of ice hockey begins in Chitral village

Ice Hockey in Pakistan

An ice hockey match under way in Parwak village of Upper Chitral district on Tuesday.

Source: Dawn

PESHAWAR: An ice hockey tournament kicked off in Parwak village of Upper Chitral district on Tuesday, providing a thrilling and rare opportunity of entertainment to the young boys and girls, who were divided into eight teams.

Canadian High Commissioner in Islamabad Ms Leslie Scanlon had arrived in the village along with her daughter, who refereed the inaugural match of the event played between the fox and snow leopard teams. The latter won the match by three goals.

A large number of locals had thronged the venue located in the centre of the village, where an ice surface had been developed for the game with the financial support of Canadian High Commission and facilitated by Aga Khan Rural Support Programme.

The people evinced great interest in the newly-introduced game, and were impressed by the performance of the young players, who had worked vigorously during the past two years when ice hockey was introduced here by the Canadian government.

Ice hockey is the national game of Canada.

The participants said it was quite a new and thrilling game for them, adding the game would become popular with the locals like polo, thus becoming the best pastime for them in winter.

A woman councillor, Sara Shah said participation of little girls in the game was highly appreciable and the game promised gender equality in the area, where girls had also excelled in the field of education.

Speaking on this occasion, Ms Scanlon said the topography of the area was ideal for the game. She said future of the game would depend on the interest of the local communities.

She expressed her determination to support the ice hockey and other snow-related games in the area. Later, she visited the stalls of locally made handicraft and food items and expressed her interest in them.

Perry Pearn to coach Japan’s men’s national team

Source: Japan Ice Hockey Federation

Perry Pearn (71), who has experience as the coach of the Canadian men’s and women’s national teams, has been appointed as the Coach of the Japan men’s national team.
Perry Pearn, the new coach, was the manager of the Canadian men’s national team in 1991-92, after which he served as team coach of the National Hockey League, and in 2018-19 he was the manager of the Canadian women’s national team. In Japan, he will coach the men’s national team and the men’s U20 national team. Pearn will lead Japan to there first international tournament  Euro Ice Hockey Challenge, which will be held In November 1in Budapest, Hungary.

Perry Pearn 
Born June 6, 1951
Coaching history
 1989-91 Canada U20 national team coach
 1991-92 Canada men’s national team manager
 1992-93 Canada U20 national team manager
 1995-96 NHL Winnipeg Jets coach
 1996-04 NHL Ottawa Senators coach
 2004-09 NHL New York Rangers Coach
 2009-12 NHL Montreal Canadiens Coach
 2012-14 NHL Winnipeg Jets Coach
 2014-17 NHL Vancouver Canucks Coach
 2018-19 Canada Women’s National Team Coach
 2020-21 KHL Automobilist Yekaterinburg Coach
 2021-22 Canada Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna Manager

Comment from new coach Perry Pearn

 “I am very excited to have the opportunity to lead the Japan national team. I was able to see the high quality of the staff, and I am very happy and grateful for the experience and long-standing relationship of trust with former manager Rick Carrier that led to this opportunity. Rick and his coaches have built I am looking forward to continuing and accumulating more. 
I sincerely hope that I can be of some help in the development of ice hockey in Japan.

” Mr. Pearn, who has a wealth of experience and achievements as a leader, including the NHL at the level, teaches players how to improve strategic knowledge and technical skills, and in each category such as the Japanese national team and junior generation,  I am confident that he will help us raise the bar.”

Kuwaiti women ready to host

The Kuwaiti women’s national team had its first IIHF competition at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia Division I, pictured against host United Arab Emirates.

By  Liz Montroy –

When the search for a host for the inaugural IIHF Women’s Development Cup began, Kuwait eagerly put their name forward.

While Kuwait’s men’s national team has competed in three World Championship tournaments (2018, 2019, 2022), the women’s program has yet to reach that level, and the Women’s Development Cup presented itself as an opportunity for Kuwait to gain valuable competitive experience against national teams from other smaller women’s programs.

“The Kuwait Ice Hockey Federation, they’ve far exceeded expectations,” said Irish Ice Hockey Association President Aaron Guli, one of the architects of the Development Cup, which debuted with a men’s tournament in 2017. “It’s top to bottom first class. They’ve been a big driving force in getting the first Women’s Development Cup over the line.”

In 2019, the Kuwaiti women’s team made their international debut at the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia Division I tournament. It was not an easy introduction to international play (through three games, Kuwait surrendered 34 goals and scored zero), but it was an important first step for the young program.

One special occurrence of that event in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, was that Kuwait had five sisters on the roster including a triplet (see story).

Since then, Kuwait has been hungry for chances to develop their athletes and play against other countries. They have held training camps in Czechia and Slovenia, and participated in tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Bangkok. This August, three women’s teams – two from Kuwait and one from Bahrain – competed in the Kuwait Ice Hockey League Open Championship, a tournament developed to further the sport in the Gulf region.

“When we go to another tournament in another country, [the players] get more power from hockey,” said Kuwait women’s program team leader Laila Alkhbaz. “They know more players, they know other cultures. When they contact with other teams and other players in different countries, they get a new experience in hockey or also in their life.”

When the puck drops at the Kuwait Winter Games Club’s ice rink to start the inaugural IIHF Women’s Development Cup on 6 November, Kuwait will be joined by national teams from Andorra, Colombia, Ireland, Luxembourg and the United Arab Emirates.

“It is very honouring to be the host,” said Alkhbaz. “All the team members are very excited to be meeting players and teams from different countries. They are working very hard with preparations for the tournament. Our management are very excited and they are working very hard.”

Alkhbaz has been at the forefront of developing women’s hockey in Kuwait since the program was officially launched in 2017. 

“Before we didn’t have a women’s team in Kuwait, only like a hobby. A few girls, they go to the ice rink and they play. Meshal [Alajmi] is the first coach to help the girls to make a hockey team, and this was in 2008. But they didn’t have the money, they didn’t have the equipment, they didn’t get the support from the government, so they cancelled it. After 2017, the Winter Games Club decided to make a women’s team and they collected the girls who know hockey, who played hockey before, and we made a team.”

In 2018, Alkhbaz attended the IIHF Women’s High Performance Camp (see story), taking part in the Leadership Development Program, while player Rawan Albahouh learned about growing the sport in the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend segment. 

“I learned that when you work hard, you get what you want,” said Alkhbaz. “I felt some difficulties there because it’s my first time to contact with the hockey society. I learned how to manage my team, how to be a good leader… Now I feel like hockey is a big part of my life.”

When not participating in tournaments or travelling to other countries for training camps, Kuwait’s female players compete in the Kuwait Women’s Ice Hockey League (KWIHL), which was formed in 2018. Now in its fifth season, the league consists of four teams – the Blue Waves, Gladiators, Diamonds and Wildcats – that play once a week from October to March or April.

The league was still in its infancy when Kuwait took to the ice at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia Division I. Fast forward to today, and the players taking part in the Development Cup will come with several years of experience of league play. 

Kuwait has made significant strides in just five years, launching a women’s national team program and a four-team women’s league, and participating in IIHF events. They will return to the Challenge Cup of Asia (now called the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s Asia and Oceania Championship) for the 2023 edition in Bangkok in May as well. But first, Kuwait gets to cross another milestone off the list – hosting not just an IIHF women’s event, but the first ever Women’s Development Cup.

Asia & Oceania looking to a bright future

Members of the IIHF Asia and Oceania Strategy Planning Group participated on-site in Abu Dhabi and remotely at the meeting.

By Harald Springfeld & Martin Merk –

The IIHF Asia and Oceania Strategy Planning Group with delegates from the IIHF’s member national association in Asia and Oceania held a meeting in Abu Dhabi to prepare for the new international season but also to assess and accommodate the findings and the new Strategy Plan ICE26  in the Asia and Oceania Region.

Due to stricter travel restrictions, many ice hockey tournaments have not been place for two seasons in Asia. The IIHF Asia and Oceania Ice Hockey Championship (formerly Challenge Cup of Asia) came back last summer with an U20 edition held in Thailand. Now two more tournaments have been announced.

The 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Asia and Oceania Championship is planned to be held between 26 February and 5 March 2023 (exact dates to be confirmed) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia with Indonesia, India, Iran, Macau (China) (TBC), Mongolia, Singapore, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan. It will be the first IIHF tournament for Uzbekistan since becoming a member in in 2019.
The 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s Asia and Oceania Championship will be held in Bangkok, Thailand with the initial dates 14-21 May 2023 with the participation of India, Iran, Kuwait, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. It will be the first participation in an IIHF tournament for the Iranian women’s national team.

The meeting was held with the members of the Asia and Oceania Strategy Planning Group (AOSPG) and in attendance of IIHF Senior Vice-President Petr Briza and IIHF Development Director Kalle Valiaho, who introduced and highlighted the importance of ICE26.

In a seasonal review and outlook, IIHF Regional Vice-President for Asia and Oceania, Aivaz Omorkanov, mentioned that the pandemic hit ice hockey in Asia very hard and it is one of the main priorities to come back stronger than ever before. Carefully selected programs with the main focus on development and sustainability alongside a good mix of events will become the key to success.
Several workshops and in-depth discussion in regard to the IIHF’s key initiatives amongst the membership and with all IIHF representatives on-site where a focal point of this meeting. 
“We need to use every single opportunity in the Asia and Oceania region to ensure the growth and to unfold the potential. With the IIHF Asia and Oceania Office, which is now located in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and managed by IIHF Sport Development Manager for Asia and Oceania Harald Springfeld, we will lay down the foundation of future growth. The office will work very closely together with the IIHF Office and all 27 members of the Asia and Oceania Strategic Planning Group,” said IIHF Vice-President and Committee Chairman Aivaz Omorkanov.
In the first quarter of 2023, the members of the Asia and Oceania Strategy Planning Group will regroup and kick off a new series of Learn to Play seminars and recruitment program initiatives with two seminars in the region. Following the meeting, an ice making seminar for the region has started in Abu Dhabi. Based on the further development and final version of ICE26, other initiatives will follow.

Abu Dhabi Summit” discusses strategies for developing ice hockey in Asia and Oceania

Source: Middle East 24

The meetings of the General Assembly of the Asia and Oceania Ice Hockey Federation began Friday evening in Abu Dhabi, with the participation of representatives of 27 countries.

The meeting presented the strategies of the International Ice Hockey Federation that will be implemented in Asia, and the Federation’s plan for the next four years (ice26), which aims to develop the game at the international level.

The first meeting focused on setting the main points to determine the needs of the Asian continent to develop the game of ice hockey from camps, tournaments or conferences.

During the meeting, Aivaz Umarukov, President of the Asia and Oceania Federation, Vice President of the International Ice Hockey Federation, reviewed the strategy and goals for the coming period, and the obligations of the countries of Asia and Oceania to ensure the progress of the development plan in the game of ice hockey for everyone.

The importance of these meetings highlights the fact that this Asian gathering was approved by the International Ice Hockey Federation last year, due to the steady increase of Asian members from 11 to 16 until reaching 27 members.

The International Federation aims to support the Asian system by unifying development efforts and setting strategies and plans.

Hamel Ahmed Al Qubaisi, Vice President of the Emirates Winter Sports Federation, said: “We are pleased that the Abu Dhabi Summit will be a new starting point for the game of ice hockey in Asia and Oceania, and the plans and strategies being discussed that contribute to concerted efforts to develop the game during the next four years. We welcome and support all efforts, We thank the International Ice Hockey Federation for its plans, initiatives and programs to develop the game in Asia.”

Abu Dhabi hosts “Asian Ice Hockey Congress” on October 21

Source: Al Ittihad

The Asian Ice Hockey Federation will hold its regular meeting this year in Abu Dhabi, from October 21 to 23, with the participation of 27 countries, to discuss the agenda of the Asian sports season, including tournaments, camps and other sports events meeting with the requirements of the agenda of the Asian and international federations of the game, as well as discussing an overview of the main challenges facing the game and developing appropriate solutions and proposals.

A number of Arab countries that are members of the Asian Confederation will participate in the meeting, including the Sultanate of Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Lebanon, in addition to the rest of Asia, notably Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nepal and Thailand.
Aivaz Umarukov, President of the Asian Hockey Federation, Harald Springfield, Director of the Asian Development Office and heads of participating delegations are scheduled to attend.

Hamel Ahmed Al Qubaisi, deputy chairman of the Winter Sports Federation, said the AFC’s choice of Abu Dhabi as the ideal place to hold the meeting did not come out of nowhere. Always a focal point and an attractive place for events, conferences and Asian and international sporting events.

Al Qubaisi added: The UAE is the first Arab country to obtain full membership of the International Ice Hockey Federation, and is therefore a pioneer in the game at regional and international level, improving its position to host the AFC meeting , is its active presence in international sports forums, whether in tournaments or meetings, and its ongoing initiatives To develop the game at Asian and international level.

Al Qubaisi added that the UAE’s sporting achievements in recent times, the most recent of which being winning the “level three” Ice Hockey World Cup last April, and the gold medal at the third Gulf Games in Kuwait ensure that it will always is in the spotlight.

Our national ice hockey team participates in the “Level Three” World Ice Hockey Championships annually, and every 4 years in the Asian Winter Games, in addition to the participation of our women’s national ice hockey team in the Asian Challenge Championship since 2013, as well as the participation of our national youth team under 20s at the annual Asian Challenge Championship.

Hockey Philippines hails new coach

New Philippine ice hockey coach Juhani Ijäs at the SM Mall of Asia Ice Skating Rink on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. PHOTO FROM HOCKEY PHILIPPINES INSTAGRAM

By Aric John Sy Cua – The Manila Times

Juhani Ijäs of Finland has been formally installed as head coach and program director of the Philippine ice hockey team.

The Finnish coach was introduced on Saturday on the Hockey Philippines Facebook page and was shown skating at the Mall of Asia ice rink in an Instagram post on Wednesday.

“We welcome Juhani Ijäs to Hockey Philippines,” the Instagram post read. “The Finnish national will take on his role as national head coach and program director of Hockey Philippines.”

“Juhani spent five successful years with the ice hockey program of Thailand and will now bring his vast experience to the Philippines,” Hockey Philippines added on its Instagram post.

Ijäs was previously the head coach of Thailand’s national team, which clinched the gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held at the SM Mall of Asia ice skating rink. According to hockey statistics website Elite Prospects, he coached the Thais from 2017 to 2022 before being named to the Philippine national team.

The 37-year-old former ice hockey defenseman played in junior leagues in the United States, and professional leagues in Finland, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand.

He was also an assistant coach of the UAE’s national ice hockey team from 2011 to 2016.

Yuval Halpert: From Israel to McKendree, and Back

By: Dylan Powell – The McKendree Review

Yuval Halpert is a 21 year old freshman forward for the McKendree Men’s DI Hockey team. Recently, Halpert has taken on another position: forward on the Israeli national hockey team!

Yuval grew up just south of Tel Aviv, Israel. “I started playing inline hockey when I was 9 and moved to ice when I was 12. I fell in love with the game of hockey and traveled all over the world playing it” noted Halpert. He first made the Israeli National Team when he was 15, playing in the under 20 year-old class world championship, and since then participated in 9 world championships. Halpert also racked up 2 gold medals, and 1 silver, participating as captain of the under 18 year-old and under 20 year-old teams from 2018 to 2020. 

While he was off of the ice, he served in the Israeli military as a fitness instructor for combat soldiers, recently being released over Christmas break after three years of service. 

At McKendree, Yuval is an exercise science major and a sports psychologist, with a goal of becoming a physical therapist or an athletic trainer, working with athletes. He played Men’s DI hockey for the Bearcats this past season.

Currently, he is in Slovenia in training camp for the world championship in Croatia. Soon, the Israeli National Team will be playing against China, Croatia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Australia. “We have players coming from all around the world, in countries such as the USA, Canada, Israel, Ukraine, and Germany to be a part of the national team. During the season, we play in different places, but for two weeks a year, we are seeing each other and representing our country” said Halpert.

Speaking on his preparation for the tournament, Yuval mentioned the struggles of Covid and the amount of work the team has been putting in. “I’ve been waiting for this week and championship the entire year, especially after a 2 year break because of Covid. All of the guys that are here are guys I grew up with, and the only way I can see them is playing in the world championship, so it’s pretty fun being with all of them. I’ve been skating and working out every day for the past two months before the tournament, with some video sessions.” 

Given the amount of time that has passed since the last tournament, Halpert was relieved to get the call to return to the world stage, playing the game he grew up on with the teammates he has played with for several years. We wish Yuval the best this coming week in the world tournament!

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