Category: Tournaments (Page 1 of 12)

Latam Cup Round Up

2022 Division I Latam Cup Champions.

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

Puerto Rico were double winners at the 2022 Latam Cup. The men’s team defeated Argentina 4-3 in the final to claim there first title in the Men’s Division I, not to be out done the Puerto Rico U20 team  defeated the team from the Caribbean 8-1 for the Under-20 title. this is the first time U20 division as been played at the Latam Cup.

The Latam Cup men’s Division II final was a Middle Eastern confrontation between
Egypt and the Stars of Israel. Egypt’s  defeated the Stars of Israel 3-0. 

Egypt 2022 Latam Cup Men’s Division II Champions.

Mexico’s Warriors won the women’s championship with a 9-4 victory against a surprising Chile team who beat Puerto Rico (defend champions), Argentina and Colombia twice to reach the final. 

Thai juniors celebrate gold

The Thai U20 national team celebrates after winning the tournament on home ice in Bangkok.

By Andy Potts – IIHF.com

A short-benched Thailand team battled to gold in the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 Asia and Oceania Championship. Despite missing five players in Saturday’s gold-medal game against a Singapore team that upset the seedings, the host nation edged a 4-3 verdict on home ice in Bangkok.

Thai forward Sittinon Promthong, who was named his team’s best player in Saturday’s final, said: “It was an exciting and very competitive game. We all gave our best, and I’m glad we got the gold against a very worthy opponent.”

True to the spirit of a tournament that marked a return to action after the pandemic, he added: “More than just the games was the friendship we built with players from the participating countries.”

Thailand edges hard-fought final

Defender Ramin Chan-Urai grabbed Thailand’s winning goal with 5:38 left in regulation time, firing in a shot from an acute angle after Promthong collected the puck on the boards and circled his way to the danger zone, carving a path through the defence. Chan-Urai’s effort got past Singapore’s goalie, Joshua Lee, who had put up some heroic resistance in this game and deservedly led the rankings for netminders after stopping 91.67 per cent of the shots he faced.

However, Lee struggled to stop Thanachai Sakchaicharoenkul. The forward, who is part of the Canstar Rangers club in the Thai championship, grabbed a hat trick and was credited with an assist on the game-winner. His efforts saw the young Elephants battle back from 0-2 early in the game to seal a second U20 tournament win for his country after the 2019 success in the Challenge Cup of Asia. It made a fine belated birthday gift for a young man who celebrated his 18th birthday last Sunday with the competition still in its group stage.

Singapore, too, had plenty to be proud of. This tournament followed a similar format to the eight-team U18 Women’s World Championship of recent years, with the top seeds in Group A and the outsiders in Group B. Singapore was placed in the lower-ranked pool, topped the pile, then defeated Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates in knock-out play to earn its place in the final. In addition to Lee’s impressive goaltending, forward Joshua Chan led the scoring race with 19 (16+3) points from six games and was named tournament MVP.

“Winning the silver medal was an incredible achievement for our team as we are a growing nation,” Chan said. “I hope we will continue to develop as a team, as we are the future players for our men’s national team.

“There were challenges along the way, with injuries which shortened the bench, but we stuck together and believed we could win every game.”

Chan, 18, was on target in the final as well; his power play goal opened a 2-0 lead for Singapore in the sixth minute. Thailand, red-hot favourite after a free-scoring performance up to this point, was rocked. And the host nation’s problems intensified when alternate captain Patpoom Patong was ejected from the game after eight minutes.

Patong’s departure added to a list of absences that already included defenceman Poon Harnchaipibulgul, who had a rating of +25 after his three games before injury. His dismissal meant that head coach Kim Aarola, a Hameenlinna born Thai-Finnish dual national, had only twelve skaters available for the rest of the game – a situation almost as tough as the semi-final against Hong Kong, China where Thailand edged a 7-6 come-from-behind overtime verdict despite icing just 11 skaters.

However, Sakchaicharoenkul rose to the challenge. Two goals in the 17th minute turned the game around then his hat-trick marker gave the Thais the lead for the first time in the 34th minute. Singapore hit back immediately through Shaw Hsiang Lee but the balance of the game had already tilted in Thailand’s favour: after the first-period shot count was 13-12, the home team outshot Singapore 18-5 in the middle frame and 16-6 in the third, limiting Singapore’s scoring chances despite dressing just three recognised defenders.

One of that trio, Punn Phasukkijwatana, was chosen as the best defender in the tournament after collecting 11 (5+6) points from five games and a gaining +24 ranking.

“The award belongs to everyone on the team,” he said. “We played our hearts out and gave it our all together as one big family. I thank all my team-mates, staff and fans for this wonderful experience. It’s been an honour to play hockey for our nation.”

Bronze goes to Hong Kongers

There was more success from Group B in Saturday’s bronze-medal game, where Hong Kong, China beat the United Arab Emirates 6-5. The team from the South China Seas pushed Thailand all the way in the semi-final and produced another battling performance to take third place. The Emirates led 2-0, then 4-1, but the Hong Kongers would not be denied. Five unanswered goals, including two each for Ernest Keung and Ryan Cheuk, turned the game around. Talal Binsammoud’s second of the game gave the UAE hope in the closing stages, but HK held on to take the medal.

Hong Kong, China also had the tournament’s best goalie, with Boyce Wong getting the prize from the directorate. He played in all five of his team’s games, collecting three wins on the way to that bronze medal.

“Having not played hockey for months at a time due to Hong Kong’s Covid-19 restrictions, we weren’t sure what to expect coming into this tournament,” Wong said. “A lot of our players had just returned from studying overseas and we didn’t have much team chemistry. However, we practised hard in the weeks leading up to the tournament and the team meshed together really well after the first few games.”

The teams come together for a joint photo after the closing ceremony.

The Emirates, meanwhile, included Nolan Murphy, whose father Ron was a hockey pioneer in the Gulf. Murphy Snr, a long-term expat in Dubai, brought his love of the game when he arrived from Canada. He played a pivotal role in popularizing the sport among local players in the early 2000s. He also dreamed that his son Nolan, born in Dubai in 2006, would represent the UAE’s national team. Sadly, Ron passed away three months before Nolan could make his international debut at this tournament, but his son delivered a perfect tribute on the ice with 12 goals in the competition to finish as the second-highest goal scorer in Bangkok. He was also the directorate’s selection as the best forward in the tournament.

“I think overall we did well for the team we had,” Murphy said. “We had so many tough games. Overall, the tournament was tough. However, I know that myself and the team enjoyed and I’m looking forward for the next one.”

Away from the medal games, fifth place went to Malaysia while the Philippines were left in sixth place after a Covid-19 outbreak in the squad forced the team to withdraw partway through the tournament and forfeit its remaining games. The remaining placement game saw Indonesia defeat India 8-2 to take seventh place among the eight competing nations.

New arena, new prospects

Off the ice, the competition in Bangkok represents a reactivation of hockey among Asia’s emerging nations. For most countries, this was a return to international junior play for the first time since 2019 after the pandemic forced the cancellation of tournaments in 2020 and 2021.

It was also the IIHF tournament debut for Bangkok’s new International Ice Hockey Arena, which opened earlier this year. The modern facility was a hit with the fans. Thailand’s games attracted an average crowd of over 500, demonstrating interest in winter sports even in the tropical summer. The arena also earned praise from the players. Hong Kong, China goalie Wong said: “We were impressed by the facilities at the rink, especially the built-in hockey shop. Some of our players who were missing minor pieces of equipment could get it on-site instead of having to travel or wait for it.”

And Aivaz Omorkanov, IIHF Vice-President for Asia and Oceania, was encouraged by the action in a hugely competitive tournament.

“This was an unbelievable tournament and I would like to thank everyone involved to make that tournament happen, especially the Organizing Committee. Definitely we saw a lot of talent and potential,” he said. “We as the IIHF, together with are Member National Associations, now need to unfold this potential and make it visible across the whole region.

“I’m very happy for all the players who made it to their national teams and represented their home countries. At last we can say – Asia and Oceania is back on the ice after years of waiting.”

This week’s tournament promises to be just beginning for hockey in the region. “We will work with every Asia and Oceania member on structured and systematic development progress, so that everyone can make the next important step,” Omorkanov added.

Singapore win silver at Ice Hockey Under-20 Asia and Oceania Championship

A 4-3 defeat by Thailand in the final saw the team narrowly missing out on gold.

By Kimberly Kwek – The Straits Times

Just hours after clinching a silver medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Ice Hockey Under-20 Asia and Oceania Championship on Saturday (July 2), Singapore team captain Cael Chua was already thinking ahead to next year’s competition.

A 4-3 defeat by Thailand in the final saw them narrowly missing out on gold, and the national U-20 men’s team are plotting revenge as they target the title next year.

The 19-year-old said: “The team did well. Previously against Thailand, the scoreline was bad, maybe a difference of four to five goals. But from this, you can actually tell we’re improving and catching up with Thailand, who are one of the best in South-east Asia so next year we’ll try our best to get the gold medal.”

Competing at the Thailand International Ice Hockey Arena in Bangkok on Saturday, Singapore found themselves 2-0 up within the first six minutes thanks to goals from Benedict Qian and Joshua Chan, but the hosts drew level after two strikes by Thanachai Sakchaicharoenkul at the end of the opening period.

Thanachai put the Thais ahead in the 34th minute, but Singapore’s Lee Shaw Hsiang pulled one back to make it 3-3. A goal by Thailand’s Ramin Chan-Urai in the 55th minute then sealed the title for the home side.

Although this was the U-20 team’s first international competition, many of them have played together for some time and they also train with the national men’s team.

A number of players were also part of the national men’s ice hockey team who clinched a historic bronze medal at the Ice Hockey World Championship Division IV in March.

Chua, a Ngee Ann Polytechnic student, said: “Most of us train together for the men’s team, so we have this chemistry and we’re always supporting each other and boosting each other’s morale.”

Teammate Joshua Chan, who finished the campaign as the tournament’s top scorer with 16 goals and was named its Most Valuable Player, noted how the team had to overcome challenges such as not enjoying the squad depth that other nations had.

While teams like Thailand had 18 players and two goaltenders, Singapore had 15 players and two goaltenders, which meant they could not make as many substitutions.

The Anglo-Chinese School (International) student, 18, said: “There’s a lot of physical contact, which makes us prone to a lot of injuries so in the final game we were missing a few key players.

“We just tackled it as a team – we have to give credit to our parents and team staff who kept us going and encouraged us as well as take care of our injuries.”

Head coach Joewe Lam praised his charges for their fighting spirit, which they displayed throughout the tournament.

Their 2-1 victory over Malaysia in the quarter-finals was achieved in extra-time, while they scored three goals in the final 10 minutes of the semi-final match against United Arab Emirates to win 4-3 and book their spot in the final.

Lam said: “Thailand were the overwhelming favourites, but they gave them a hard fight which is what we wanted to see. The players trusted my plan and we planned according to the opponent’s forte and had to counter that. I’m overall very satisfied with their performance.

“We are definitely not intimidated (when coming up against stronger teams). They never back down and always go in with that never-say-die attitude… they want to prove that ice hockey is a sport that can excel in Singapore.”

A new agreement has been reached on the Baltic Cup tournament, the first tournament in Lithuania in November

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

Lithuania together with the Estonia, Poland and Latvia Ice hockey federations, reached an agreement on the organization of the Baltic Cup,  during the International breaks in November of the International Hockey Federation (IIHF).

During the IIHF Congress, the four countries decided to continue organizing the Baltic Cup, and representatives of Poland joined the three other federations of the tournament: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. From now on, the tournament will be held annually in one of the four countries that have reached an agreement. Lithuania, Estonia and Poland will be sending their strongest national teams to the tournament, while Latvia will compete with their second team (Latvia B).

Once the agreement was reached, the hosts of the future tournaments were also elected. It has been decided that the first Baltic Cup tournament will be held in Lithuania. The tournament will take place in November of this year.

At the same time, the Federation of Lithuania has reached agreements on international tournaments at the U-20 and U-18 levels. Lithuania, Poland and Estonia and a fourth team will take part in the four nations tournaments in both age groups.  Most likely Hungary and Romania will be the forth team.

The first tournament of the U-20 will also be held in November, and its hosts will also be Lithuania Meanwhile, the U-18 tournament will be hosted by Poland and is scheduled for the IIHF February window.

The cities where all three tournaments will take place will be announced at a later date.

UAE Ice Hockey Team Claim Title Of 3Rd GCC Games Kuwait ’22

Source: Kuwait News Agency 

The national ice hockey squad of the United Arab Emirates were proclaimed champions of the 3rd GCC Games Kuwait 2022 on Friday evening.
The Saudi team won the silver medal and the host Kuwaiti team won the bronze medal.
The game, hosted by Kuwait Winter Games Club, saw the UAE team unbeaten in the three matches, thus securing nine points.
The Green squad, of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, secured six points from two wins and one loss.
The Blue, of the State of Kuwait, won bronze from one win and two losses, while Bahrain’s team lost their three matches. 

LATAM Spring Classic gives boost to Latin American hockey development

By Taylor Baird – NHL.com

Some around Argentina’s national hockey team will joke that there were players who barely could skate on ice five years ago.

Through hard work, creativity in using the limited resources at its disposal, and participating in tournaments like the Amerigol LATAM Cup, those same players now can call themselves champions.

Argentina scored two goals in 1:01 late in the third period of a tied game for a 6-3 victory against Puerto Rico to win the inaugural Amerigol LATAM Spring Classic. The tournament was hosted in partnership with the Dallas Stars at StarsCenter in Farmers Branch, Texas, from March 24-27 and featured teams representing Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

“It’s a huge step for the Dallas Stars and us to support this tournament,” Stars director of community outreach Al Montoya said. “It’s a chance for us to help these players play the game they love. It’s also a chance for us to show that the Latin culture isn’t homogeneous. Just like DFW [Dallas-Fort Worth] being so diverse, the Latinos here in Dallas aren’t just Mexican, aren’t just Salvadoran … it’s a chance to connect with that community and continue to grow the game that we all love.

“We want to grow the best game on earth. As a hockey player, as a former hockey player now, being in the NHL, it’s showing that there is space for everybody in this game and believing that once they do see this game, play this game or become part of it, that it’ll spread like wildfire.”

The Spring Classic is the second annual event hosted by Amerigol to provide more access to ice time and competition for national teams and players from Latin American countries. The Amerigol LATAM Cup first was held in 2018 at Florida Panthers IceDen in Sunrise, Florida. It has been held every year since, except for 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These annual events provide opportunities to Latin American players to practice and skate on ice, something that can be hard to come by in their home countries. Many players came to the Dallas area before the start of the tournament to transition from in-line roller hockey to ice.

In addition to the tournament, the Stars hosted more than 90 players, coaches and staff members from the Spring Classic at their home game against the Vancouver Canucks on March 26. For most, it was the first time they had gotten a chance to see NHL hockey live.

“They’re going to go back to their country and speak to their teammates from their roller hockey leagues and talk about their experience,” said Juan Carlos Otero, one of the founders of Amerigol. “It’s going to create a desire for these guys to want to work hard to be on the next national team, to be on a team that’s going to travel and participate in the LATAM Cup or the Spring Classic. That’s just going to help grow the game down there.”

Otero anticipates the 2022 Amerigol LATAM Cup, which will be held in Sunrise in partnership with the Panthers from Sept. 15-18, will have more than 40 teams participating, including some traveling from as far as Egypt and Thailand. Though the tournament started as a way to grow hockey within Latin American countries, Otero said he always will find a way to include countries where hockey is considered non-traditional.

After all, Otero said, “Why can’t everyone have an opportunity [to play]?

“These players have the same passion as we do for this incredible game and love it as much or more than we do. You can come up to any little player and ask him what happened in the NHL last night and he’s going to tell you … it’s just incredible the love they have for this game.”

U20 Euro Asia Championship Day 3 Recap

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

On the final day of U20 Euro Asia Championship  the U20 national team of Kyrgyzstan won all 3 of their games and became the champions of the tournament. 

On the final day Kyrgyzstan easily beat Bosnia and Herzegovina by a score of 5-2, despite the lights going out in the arena part way through the game. This did stop  the boys from Kyrgyzstan from claiming the title.

The second place was taken by the Turkey who beat Bulgaria by a score of 2-1. This was a physical affair with line brawl breaking out in the third period. 

Results of games of the U20 national team of Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan – Bulgaria – 7: 5

Kyrgyzstan – Turkey – 7: 5

Kyrgyzstan – Bosnia and Herzegovina – 5: 2

U20 Euro Asia Championship Day 2 Recap

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

Day two of the U20 Euro Asia Championship started off with the 0-1 Bulgarians take on the 0-1 Bosnian’s.

The youth team of Bosnia got of to quick start by scoring the first goal of the game, but Bulgaria started to show there dominance and took the game by a score of 6-2.

In the second game Kyrgyzstan U20 won the second game in a row against their peers from Turkey 7-5.

After the first period Kyrgyzstan took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room. 

The second period was a goal fest with a total of 9 goals scored in the period, six of them in the first 5 minutes. 

Heading into the third period Kyrgyzstan was leading by a score of 6-4. 

Turkey battled hard and made it a one goal game. Turkey pulled their goalie, but has he was heading for the bench he collide into the ref, the extra attacker could not get on the ice and Kyrgyzstan scored the empty netter to win the game 7-5.

In the final game of the tournament on January 9th, Kyrgyzstan will play Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey will take on Bulgaria.

U20 Euro Asia Championship Day 1 Recap

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

Kyrgyzstan U20 national team successfully started at the international tournament in Turkey.

The U20 Euro Asia Championship started on January 7 in Istanbul and runs from January 7-9 with the participation of 4 teams – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Bulgaria.

In the first game, the Kyrgyzstan team played against the Bulgarian U20 national team and won by a score of 7: 5.

In another game, the Turkish U20 national team beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 4: 3.

On January 8, the 2nd games will take place. The national team of Kyrgyzstan will play with Turkey while Bosnia and Herzegovina will take on Bulgaria.

Finland grabs top spot

 

By Andy Potts – IIHF.com

Finland grabs top spot

That win over Canada helped the Finns claim top spot – both in the Channel 1 Cup and the overall Eurotour standings. But the winning margin was complicated.

Over the course of the tournament, Russia compiled 10 points to Finland’s seven. However, the Russians played an extra game – the curtain-raiser against Canada on Dec. 15. As a result, Russia’s win over Sweden was discarded from the ranking. That made Sunday’s clash between Finland and the host nation into a winner-takes-all decider.

The curios continued. After 60 minutes, the teams were locked at 2-2. In overtime, though, the Russians tested a tactic successfully used by Sergei Fyodorov with CSKA Moscow in the KHL. Goalie Ivan Fedotov was called to the bench in favour of an extra skater; the gamble was that the Red Machine could retain possession and protect the empty net.

It didn’t pay off this time. Finland snatched possession and Sakari Manninen surged towards the empty net, only to be hauled down by Slava Voinov. Ordinarily, the foul would have resulted in a penalty shot, but with the empty net in play Manninen was credited with the winning goal. The Finns felt this was poetic justice after Voinov’s controversial goal late in the third period tied the game. There was nothing wrong with the defenceman’s shot, but Finnish observers were convinced that goalie Harri Sateri was impeded earlier in the play and head coach Jukka Jalonen was outspoken in his criticism of the officiating. “It was 100% interference,” the coach told the Iltalehti newspaper. “There’s nothing unclear and no reason why it shouldn’t be given. Even a blind man can see it.”

Russia tops Canada for the first time since 2017

The opening game saw Russia edge Canada 4-3, with the visitor fighting back from 1-4 after 40 minutes but falling just short in the third. That was the first time Russia defeated its old rival since the 2017 Channel 1 Cup, when Oleg Znarok’s team enjoyed a 2-0 victory in its final tournament before PyeongChang.

This time, Russia ramped up the Olympic history, donning a uniform inspired by the 1956 Soviet jerseys from the country’s first Olympic gold in Cortina d’Ampezzo. The Russian win came on goals from Lokomotiv’s Yegor Korshkov and Alexander Yelesin, plus further tallies from Nikita Nesterov and Vadim Shipachyov. The latter two were part of the 2018 golden roster in Korea.

Vladislav Tretiak, head of the Russian Hockey Federation, talked up the impact of Russia’s success. “No matter what line-ups the teams put out, games [against Canada] always attract extra interest,” he told Championat. “Almost the entire country is talking about this win. Maybe we’ll see the same in the Olympic final.”

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