By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey
Not too many people knew about ice hockey in Chile until the last few years. This year Chile will take part in the Pan American Ice Hockey tournament for the first time, ahead of the Pan American Ice Hockey Tournament we had an opportunity to speak with the President of the Federación Chilena de Hockey en Linea y en Hielo.
How did ice hockey start in Chile?
Ice hockey started in Chile in Punta Arenas and Santiago both at the same time.
When did you become President of Federación Chilena de Hockey en Linea y en Hielo?
On February 2005, the Chilean Ice Hockey Federation, an affiliated member of IIHF, was legally constituted. I was president until 2009.
Then, in 2014 we reactivated the functions of the Federation after being closed from 2009 to 2014, without activities and without a directions.
Why has the game of ice hockey taking so long to developed in Chile?
Firstly, because in Chile inline hockey is played and the other reason is the lack of ice hockey rinks in the country.
Very little ice hockey is played because inline hockey players are not attracted to the game of ice hockey.
How many ice rinks are there in Chile?
We have no Ice rinks in Chile only recreational ice rinks.
How many ice hockey players are there in Chile?
In Santiago approximately 30 ice hockey players. In Punta Arenas, there are more players because they have been entering the school system and motivating the children to play ice hockey.
The equipment is expensive. The people that bring equipment have to recover there investment and expenses. It is very expensive sport to play.
What Changes are you going to try to make to improve Ice hockey in the country?
To promote ice hockey after participating in the Pan American Ice Hockey Tournament.
Motivate children to play ice hockey.
Obtain sponsorship to develop ice hockey.
Find support in the diffusion of ice hockey.
Promote ice hockey in schools for all ages.
The Copa Invernada Tournament is a annual 3 on 3 Tournament played in Punta Arenas, Chile, Do you have any plans to improve this tournament in the future?
Until there is a ice rick with official measurements or bigger than the one’s we have in Chile, we will continue playing 3×3.
Hopefully, someone wants to invest in ice hockey in our country, on a bigger ice rink where we can play and promote the game in schools.
In Chile, investing in individual sports and new sports have to continue to wait for someone to wake up and be interested in investing.
Right now We would have to win something big to be considered as a profitable investment.
Chile Men’s National Ice Hockey Team is going to make their debut at this years Pan American Ice Hockey Tournament. How did this come about?
The Chilean team that competes for the first time in the Pan American formed with players from Punta Arenas, Santiago and Chilean players living outside Chile.
Many good players turn us down and decided not to go they believe that they were not prepared for this challenge.
Will the Men’s National Team team be all inline hockey players or will it feature some local ice hockey players?
Many of the ice hockey players are inline hockey players but we have some who have only played ice hockey.
Are there any future plans to a Chilean ice hockey League?
The plans to make a league in Chile are very difficult …. Punta Arenas ice rink is very far from Santiago. We did a championship with inline hockey players who have been playing hockey for a longer time rather than the ice players, it was very entertaining.
Playing strategies are dominated by inline hockey for years they have been practicing.
I think it would be the great motivation to be in constant leagues or championships, so that the training would have a purpose.
When you are done being President what do you hope Chile ice hockey will look like?
When I am finish being president of the federation, I hope that the leaders and players of inline hockey and in ice hockey can unite and work together with the same aim over the personal interests.
I think there is a lack of unity and interest in a common good.
I hope that hockey continues to grow, that more professionals are willing to invest time in obtaining the resources.
That there are more schools and more rinks where children can skate.
Personally, I hope to continue to teach ice hockey and train players who can then become trainers themselves.
Also, I hope we can have a bigger Ice rink with the proper facilities.
That hockey does not die and continues to grow so that we can have a lot of hockey for many years.
May this Pan American Tournament be the first of many.
A dream that will be …. we have wanted to play in a championship for at least one year.