Category: South America (page 1 of 2)

LATAM Cup and Hockey in Latin America is Fueled by Passion

By Mike Lewis – Florida Panthers

Passion for the game has no limits or borders.

For South Florida native Juan Carlos Otero, the burgeoning hockey scene in Latin America is what inspired him to found Amerigol Miami International Hockey Association.

A self-professed “hockey fanatic” of Colombian heritage, Otero operates Amerigol with the mission of growing hockey’s presence throughout Latin America by organizing tournaments and showcases.

Although his love of hockey began during the Panthers magical 1995-96 Year of the Rat season, the seeds of Amerigol were firmly planted when he first discovered Colombia’s infatuation with hockey, more notably inline hockey during a trip to Bogota in 2017.

Otero, the General Manager of the ACHA Div. III University of Miami hockey club, formed a relationship with the Colombian National Team as he helped organize a training camp in South Florida to help them transition their inline game to the ice before heading to Mexico for the 2017 Pan American Games. Once witnessing firsthand the passion for hockey in Latin America at those Games and the chance to spread the word, Otero began constructing his plan for the LATAM Cup, an international tournament spotlighting the talent and hockey community tucked away in Latin America.

Hosted at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs, Fla., the first LATAM Cup was held in 2018, with five teams and roughly 90 players competing in one division. Just one year later, the 2019 LATAM Cup’s participation soared to 21 teams, four divisions and nearly 400 players. Divisions included D1, D2, U16 and a Women’s Division while also adding teams from the Caribbean, like Jamaica, who won the 2019 D1 tournament in thrilling fashion.

“Where (the LATAM Cup) is at now, I’m completely blown away, but I’m not surprised,” said Otero. “I’m not a cocky person, but I kind of knew this had the potential to grow because of what I saw (in Colombia). Their (inline) rink is like a family hub. They have over 640 players registered for inline hockey. From the U-8s all the way to adults.”

Recently named to the NHL’s Youth Hockey Inclusion Committee, Otero aims to share his passion for the game in the League’s efforts to grow the game and provide both inspiration and inclusivity for Latinx, Hispanic and minority youths to have the opportunities to learn and play hockey.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am. The NHL has worked really hard in creating initiatives to grow the game of hockey and to change the stigma that it’s just a white person’s sport. I have a lot of ideas and this will be a great place to voice them and get feedback on them.”

While the NHL continues to broaden its diversity and inclusion approach, Otero looks to the sports community as a whole, its connection to Latin America and his hockey pilgrimage to Colombia that fuels the dedication to his mission.

“Why can’t the next NHL superstar in 15 years come from Latin America?” said Otero. “In every other sport there have been superstars that have come out of Latin America. I think that it’s important for the NHL’s growth 15 years down the line to have players with names like ‘Lopez’ and ‘Fernandez’ on the backs of jerseys to grow your fanbase.”

“It’s the same over there (in Colombia). It’s a hockey community just like it is here. They love this game as much if not more than we do. You talk to these kids and they know what happened last night in the NHL.”

In September of 2019, Colombia became an associate member of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), becoming the fifth Latin American Country to join the IIHF after Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

The next LATAM Cup is set to be Amerigol’s largest endeavor yet, with a new U12 division and a tremendous increase of 35-40 teams from countries in Latin America and the Carribbean. Most interestingly, that number doesn’t even include teams from Africa and Asia who had enthusiastically extended their interest in participating.

Traditionally held in early September, the tournament has since been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, when it comes to organizing the next LATAM Cup during these unprecedented times, Otero refuses to make final decisions without speaking to the teams and countries that helped make the tournament possible in the first place.

“I wouldn’t have this tournament if it wasn’t for them. It’s important everyone has a say in this event.”

A hockey dad at heart, whose son Chris captured Gold with Team Colombia in the 2019 U16 LATAM Cup Tournament, Otero is thrilled for the future of the tournament as well as the potential growth of the game he loves so dearly.

“These kids have the same (passion). Growing the game within the community. This whole tournament is a win-win-win for everybody. As this tournament continues to grow, more people become aware that people play hockey (in Latin America).”

“Seeing these kids come off the ice win or lose, they have the biggest smile on their face. To me that’s what it’s all about.”

Argentine players overcoming hurdles to get on ice

By William Douglas –

Argentine hockey players have to go to the end of the world if they want to play a five-on-five game in their country.

With small ice rinks in large cities like Buenos Aires, an Olympic-sized outdoor rink Ushuaia, a town at the southernmost tip of South America with a sign in Spanish that says “fin del mundo” — end of the world — is the only option for a full game.

“We don’t have a lot of economic help to promote the sport,” said Jorge Dicky Haiek, coach of Argentina’s men’s national team, “so we need to create, promote the sport and be better and better with our resources. It’s very difficult.”

Argentina’s men’s and women’s teams overcome several hurdles to play the game they love in a soccer and basketball-obsessed South American country of nearly 45 million people.

Like their Latin American rivals that competed in the 2019 Amerigol LATAM Cup tournament held at the Florida Panthers IceDen in September, most of Argentina’s players are in-line hockey players who transition to ice when it becomes available.

Hockey is an expensive sport in the United States and Canada, but more so in countries like Argentina because of the currency exchange rates, shipping charges (if buying online) and taxes.

“We don’t have sticks there (in Argentina),” Haiek said. “We have to go to Miami; someone goes, picks up the sticks, carries them on the flight. It’s very difficult; the import, the export.”

Rather than spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to replace broken sticks, skates and other items, some players turn to Argentine women’s coach Roberto “Racki” Villagra, who has become the go-to guy in the country for making damaged hockey equipment good as new.

Affectionately nicknamed after the burly tough guy in the 1986 hockey movie “Youngblood,” Villagra delicately uses carbon fiber and epoxy to fix shattered or splintering sticks.

At the Amerigol Cup, Villagra proudly displayed a repaired stick he’s been using since 2009, noting that it has the same flex as when it was first purchased.

He also showed off “Frankenskate,” a beat-up pair of Bauer boots used by an Argentine player for ice and in-line hockey. The blades are interchangeable, held to the boots by easily removable screws and bolts instead of rivets.

“There’s no pro shop there, there’s only one person that imports that stuff, and it’s really, really expensive,” said Leana Villagra, Racki’s daughter, whose 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in three games helped lead Argentina to the Amerigol Cup women’s championship. “It’s better to fix it over and over again, and that’s what he does.”

Fixing what would be considered unrepairable in North America and traveling great distances (Ushuaia is nearly 1,475 miles from Buenos Aires by air) to play on a regulation-sized rink shows the love some Argentines have for hockey.

Argentina has been an associate member of the International Ice Hockey Federation since 1998. The country has 1,060 players; 630 men, 290 women and 140 juniors.

“We have a heart, passion and creativity, like (soccer star) Messi and (former NBA player) Manu Ginobili,” Haiek said. “We work so hard to involve all the kids to play because it’s the best sport of the world — ice hockey and in-line hockey is the best of the world.”

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.”

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!

Finnish Chilean plays ice-hockey in Miami

By Foreigners In Finland

Camilo Gaez, 40 years old, is representing Chile in Miami to play ice hockey. Chile’s national ice hockey team will participate in the Latam Cup, and according to Camilo, it’s the former Pan American Ice Hockey Tournament. The humble Finnish-born Latino player is playing in the leading annual international ice hockey competition for Latin America.

The future of ice hockey is the south says Juan Carlos Otero, the general manager of the University of Miami’s ice hockey team, in an interview at The Latam Cup originated in 2014 and it has grown since then, adding more groups and country members each year. Most of the Latin American countries will also be there: Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and the Falkland Islands. There are also hockey games for the seniors, ladies, youth 16s, and children 12s divisions.

He was born in Finland by Chilean parents who sought asylum. Since he was a young boy, he has always loved playing ice hockey and remains an enthusiastic winter sports fan. He participated in Red Bull Crash Ice a few years ago and made it to the finals. He has about 1200 supporters, most of them from Latin America. He joined the competition when he was already 36 years old and until today, he is one of the pioneer Latino representatives in the Crash Ice Competition.

This hot blood and chill Latino cannot only skate but also jump and crush some ice. He can also play ice hockey. So why should he not bring the championship to Chile?

Markham teen goalie set to stop pucks for Chile’s national hockey squad

James Vargas will join Chile’s men’s national team for the 2019 Amerigol Latam Cup hockey tournament starting Sept. 6. He is shown with goaltending coach Carson Bird of Carson Bird Goalie School

By John Cudmore – York Region

Countless Canadian kids grow up dreaming about representing their country on hockey’s international stage.

James Vargas might fall into that category, too.

But with Chilean ancestry, it would be difficult to find a reason for the Markham resident to dream about donning a hockey jersey on behalf of his father’s homeland.

Until now.

The 16-year-old goaltender is scheduled to fly Sept. 4 to Miami where he will join Chile’s national men’s hockey team to participate in the 2019 AmeriGol Latam Cup.

“No, actually, I didn’t know about it,” admits Vargas, a Grade 11 student at St. Augustine Catholic High School in Markham. “Hockey in South America is brand new. I don’t even know what calibre or style of play there will be. I’m going to have to figure it out when I get there.”

The Latam Cup tournament includes several Latin American national hockey teams competing in the weeklong event that concludes Sept. 7. The tournament also includes under-16 and women’s divisions.

Chile is scheduled to face off against Venezuela in its opening game on Sept. 6.

A former member of the Markham Waxers, Vargas plays for the Don Mills Flyers midgets in the Greater Toronto Hockey League.

A coach from a Montreal team connected to the Chilean program saw Vargas play last season. He approached his father, Javier, with an offer to consider playing for the under-18 Chilean team.

That team failed to materialize, but he was invited to join the senior men’s squad.

“It didn’t take long … about a minute,” Vargas said of his decision to accept. “I’m a little bit nervous, being so young and excited, too.

“It’s my first time to play hockey on an international stage. It’ll be interesting to see what comes to the table.”

He is qualified to play, through his father, who left Chile for North America as a nine-year-old.

The Latam Cup is being contested at the NHL Florida Panthers’ Ice Den in Coral Springs.

Known more for in-line hockey, Chile is an affiliate member of the International Ice Hockey Federation. Chile made its international debut in 2017.

The Falklands are coming: hockey’s smallest nation looking for big results

By Steven Ellis – The Hockey News

The small nation may be famous for a war, but through the work of a group of dedicated individuals, hockey is quickly picking up steam in one of the most unlikely destinations. This is the story of hockey on the Falkland Islands.

Roughly 3,000 inhabitants call the Falkland Islands home. Around 150 of them play hockey.

Located just south of Argentina and 5,600 miles from Miami, Fla., the Falklands are the smallest hockey nation on record, making up one of the 14 British Overseas Territories. The Falkland Islands have the 222nd largest economy out of 229 nations according to the GDP, and many of the Falklands’ culture traditions stem from British settlers.

So, naturally, it’s a perfect place for hockey.

In fact, when you visit the Hockey Hall of Fame, you’ll find Ryan Bahl’s jersey from the 2015 Copa Invernada Tournament in Punta Arenas, Chile, the first ice hockey tournament the Falklands took part in. It was a ceremonious introduction to the sport for the nation, which won all four games to take home gold. The kicker? There isn’t an ice rink on the Falkland Islands. Granted, a few of the players had experience on ice, but it was a new venture for some and the first time the group got to play on the ice together.

Winning gold in your first attempt is hard enough, especially when you have limited experience on the surface you’re playing on, but to follow that up with another medal? Good luck. But since 2015, the Falkland Islands have won bronze in Costa Rica at the inaugural International Ice Hockey Tournament, featuring club teams from Canada and the United States and gold at all four levels of the 2018 Mega Patagonian Cup in the Punta Arenas. They’ve never actually finished a tournament without winning a medal, which is almost unheard of.

Since there isn’t a local ice rink, players take part in dek (ball) and inline hockey, allowing them to develop basic footwork skills to get them up to speed for their annual adventures on the ice. Former British pro ice hockey player Grant Budd started dek hockey in a small gym back in 2006, with inline launching in 2017 – with player involvement growing rapidly. The gym is only just a tad bigger than a zone in an NHL-sized rink, but they make do with what they have.

Now, the Falkland Islands are ready for the big stage, relatively speaking.

In early September, the organization will make the jump to 5-on-5 hockey against other international teams at the Amerigol Latam Cup. The tournament, put on in partnership with the Florida Panthers in Coral Springs, Fla., features teams from North and South America in men’s, women’s and U-16 levels. It was previously known as the Pan-American Ice Hockey Games, with Colombia and Mexico being the teams to beat each year (Mexico is lone full IIHF member, allowing it to participate in IIHF tournaments). Canada even sent a team once, winning the inaugural tournament in 2014 back when the Mexican federation organized it. The goal is to help grow hockey in the in the Americas. but participation opened up to the Caribbean to allow further growth. Jamaica and Puerto Rico are among the other teams making tournament debuts.

The 2019 edition of the Latam Cup – the second in its current form – will mark the first time Falkland has participated against a tournament full of international teams, but with a catch: you won’t find a team called the Falkland Islands on the schedule. The second division men’s unit will be called ‘Rest of the World,’ with players also coming from Canada, the United States, Norway and the United Kingdom. The youth team, Stanley, will play against Argentina, Colombia and the United States in the U-16 division.

Ryan Bahl’s jersey in the Hockey Hall of Fame

Experience is not on the side of the Falkland Islands. Take team media coordinator and vice-chairman Sam Cockwell, for example. Cockwell didn’t play hockey growing up, but the sport’s speed and competitiveness hooked him almost immediately when he first tried it a few years ago.

“(Grant Budd) said, ‘You’ve got to try inline because you like playing dek hockey,’ ” Cockwell said. “I was the worst skater anyone has ever seen. But since then, it has taken over my house and my life. Through the friendships you make, and the people you know, it has been an amazing club to be part of.”

The Latam Cup is a small start, but baby steps are needed to help the team grow. The goal at first was to go to Chile and just have a good showing: medals at both iterations they played at helped. Cockwell hopes the local government will see the sport continue to grow in the Falkland Islands and eventually build a small rink to play ice hockey on regularly. The Falkland Islands are not close to playing in any IIHF tournaments, but the growth over the past few years is impressive: from ball hockey in the gym to travelling to other countries and continents to play on the ice, the team members have had to overcome challenges just to play the sport they love.

“There’s been incredible support here in terms of helping us get sponsorship to pay for flights because it is horrifyingly expensive for us to go to Miami,” Cockwell said. “We’ve had a few big sponsors every year that have helped us out with accommodation, and a lot of them help us buy equipment.”

The team takes pride in the youth program, developing kids early with hopes of building a solid foundation for the senior squad. It’s a long-term project but one with a true aboriginal feel.

“They’ve just developed so much,” Cockwell said. “They’re actually becoming very good hockey players. We went from there being one youth league – the elite league is what it’s called now – to there being four youth leagues and a strong senior league as well.”

In a sport as expensive as hockey, building a homegrown program without major government assistance is challenging. There’s no positive return on investment, and everything comes at the expense of missing work and leaving loved ones behind. A team this small has its share of obstacles – it’ll cost more than $2100 for each player to participate – but the love of the game makes it worth it.

“Just being on the cusp of this big kind of level change for us, going from regional to a national level, it’s an exciting time for us,” Cockwell said.

Members of the Falkland Islands dek hockey program

Fort Garry player suiting up for Chile

Nicholas Opazo-Ceicko to play in LatAm Cup

By Danielle Da Silva – Winnipeg free Press

An injection of Canadian talent direct from Fort Garry will boost the Chilean national ice hockey team’s bench this fall in the Amerigol LatAm Cup.  

Nicholas Opazo-Ceicko, 19, will suit up for Team Chile as the newly minted squad takes on teams from seven neighbouring South American and Caribbean countries at the Florida Panthers IceDen, Sept. 6 to 8.

“I just feel like I’m lucky to be in this position,” Opazo-Ceicko said. “I never thought I would be playing for any national team, so I’m just lucky to be a part of one.”

The second annual tournament is organized by the Amerigol Miami International Hockey Association which promotes ice hockey in Latin America through tournaments and showcases, with a goal of developing future players and expanding the market for the game in those countries.

In its first year, the tournament hosted teams from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela, with Colombia ultimately securing the championship title.

Opazo-Ceicko, who is a dual Canadian-Chilean citizen, reached out to the Chilean team in late 2018. He sent videos of his time as a defenceman with the AA Winnipeg Twins to team captain Cristobal Vega and manager Monica Arias, and after some email exchanges and providing proof of Chilean citizenship (his mother is of Chilean descent), was invited to join the team at the LatAm Cup.

“Growing up, I was always proud to say I am half-Chilean,” he said. “To be able to play for a team that’s newer to hockey, and if even one or two kids who live in Chile watch the tournament and get interested, and they start to develop their skills, and hopefully become better than me, then they can start playing for the national team.

“I’m taking this opportunity to show Chile hockey, and I think that’s the same for everyone else on the team.”

Chile has been a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation since 2000 and won its first game in 2017 against Brazil in the Pan-American Ice Hockey Tournament. The national team, which has previously focused its attention on inline hockey and has just two indoor ice facilities at its disposal (according to the IIHF), is now looking beyond its borders for players, a strategy similarly employed by Colombia in its LatAm Cup debut.      

Opazo-Ceicko, who has been skating since he was a toddler, played hockey out of the Fort Garry Community Centre, and with the Twins until 2018, hopes to contribute to the team as best he can and expects to be a strong presence on the blueline.    

“I’m bringing some Canadian grit,” Opazo-Ceicko said, adding he and a few other imported players are coming with experience in the physical aspects of the game. “They are taking a chance on me so whatever (ice time) I get I will be happy with, and I will be proud to do it.

“I think this tournament is more to get an idea of how we work together and if it’s a team they’d like to keep together for a while,” he added. “This will be a learning experience for the team.”

This year’s tournament also features teams from Jamaica, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. For more information go to

Чемпионат Эквадора по хоккею. Сезон 2019

By Vitaly Nesterov – Exotic Hockey

5 апреля 2019 года в городе Кито на льду «Palacio del hielo» стартовал чемпионат Эквадора по хоккею. Игры проходили на маленькой площадке в формате 3 на 3 (три периода по 10 минут). В турнире участвовали 7 команд, которые сыграли по 6 матчей в групповом этапе + игры плей-офф.

Среди участников — знакомые уже нам «Orkos»(«Орки») и «Lobos»(Волки), а также «Black Saiyans»(«Черные Драконы»), «Cocks» («Петухи»), «Raptors» («Рептилии»), их молодежь «Raptors U16», а также «Freyas» («Фрейя» — Богиня любви и войны в германо-скандинавской мифологии)

12 мая завершился предварительный турнир. Вот его результаты:

Результаты группового этапа

20 мая состоялся матч между «Raptors U16» и «Freyas», занявших 6 и 7 места соответственно, победитель которого получал право сыграть в матче за 5 место.
«Raptors U16» проиграл все матчи предварительного турнира. Прямо как наш любимый «Спортул». Но молодые ребята решили собраться и дать бой команде «Freyas», которая состоит из девушек. Вот это поворот.
Итоговый счет «Raptors U16» 14-2 «Freyas» . И «молодые рептилии» идут дальше.

Raptors U16» и «Freyas

В тот же вечер состоялись полуфинальные баталии, где встречались гранды местного хоккея.
В первом полуфинальном матче «Драконы» легко обыграли «Орков». Итоговый счет — 7:0 в пользу «Драконов»

Orcos» и «Black Saiyans

Борьба во втором полуфинале была упорнее. Встречались команды «Cocks» и «Raptors»

Итоговый результат 4:2 в пользу «Cocks»

Cocks» и «Raptors

30 мая состоялся матч за 5 место.
Проигрывавшие в предварительном турнире «Raprots U16» решили взять и дать бой «Волкам» («Lobos»).
Упорный матч завершается победой «Raptors U16» со счетом 9:6

Raptors U-16

И вот наконец мы переходим к самому интересному.

2 июня 2019 года состоялись финал и матч за третье место.

Первыми на лед вышли «Orkos» и «Raptors», которые боролись за бронзовые медали.
Успеха добились взрослые «рептилии». Итоговый счет — «Raptors» 2:0 «Orkos»

Raptors» — бронзовые призеры

В 19:30 состоялся финал между «Black Saiyans» и «Cocks» (прошлогодними чемпионами).
Велась даже прямая трансляция в одной и соцсетей.
Матч обещал быть боевым, и ожидания публики, собравшейся на трибунах в этот воскресной день, оправдались.

Борьба, накал, страсть, споры, эмоции — все это было в финальном матче.

Походу игры «Cocks» несколько раз вели в счете.
Но все же «Драконам» удалось переломить ход матча. Итоговый счет — 4-3 в их пользу и мы приветствуем новых чемпионов!

Победители турнира — Black Saiyans

Latin American Ice Hockey has arrived!

By University of Miami Ice Hockey –SCHC

Juan Carlos Otero believes the future of ice hockey is South.

The general manager of the University of Miami’s ice hockey team since 2014, Otero is one of the founders of the Amerigol Miami International Hockey Association, which hopes to grow the grow the icy sport in Latin America by raising awareness through showcases and tournaments.

“In our own backyard, we have a lot of excellent talent in Latin America,” Otero said. “As the population of Latins grows in the United States, I think it’s important that the NHL looks at being more active in this region in developing talent. Fifteen years down the line, you’re going to want to have more “Hernandez,” Fernandez,” “Gomez” and “Lopez,” on the back of jerseys if you want to grow as a sport… I think it’s time to start planning those seeds in this market.”

A few of those seeds were planted this past weekend at the Panthers IceDen, where teams from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela competed in the inaugural LATAM Cup. Of those teams, three also compete as the national teams for their respective countries.

The first major tournament hosted by Amerigol, Otero is confident it won’t be the last.

“South Florida is the gateway to Latin America,” said Otero, whose family hails from Colombia. “We thought it would be a great fit to bring a tournament here… We have people out here supporting their country with their flags. We want them to fall in love with the game like I did.”

Prior to the tournament, players had a chance to meet several members of the Florida Panthers.

“The Panthers have done a great job,” Otero said. “Some of the players told the Argentinian team that they had watched them play in a roller hockey tournament. They were blown away by that. I’ve felt really welcomed, working with the Panthers IceDen… They’ve made this a lot easier for me.”

The LATAM Cup featured games consisted of two 25-minutes periods with an intermission in between each. All games were free and open to the public, which led to a lively atmosphere of cheering, chants and audible pride coming from the large crowd that filled the stands at the rink.

In the end, Colombia defeated Mexico B 12-3 to be crowned the tournament’s first champions.

“When Juan Carlos brought this idea to me, I’m like ‘Yeah, we’ve got to do it. We’ve got to host it here under the Florida Panthers IceDen, under this organization to really show the community here what there is to offer,'” said Keith Fine, the IceDen’s general manager. “Ice hockey is alive and well.

“If we can just get more kids out here to get excited about the sport and support their national teams, who knows? We’re really hoping we see a strong support from that Latin American community to come out here and watch their teams compete and battle. At the end of the day, hopefully they can sign up, too.”

Like Otero, Fine believes the Latin American community is an untapped market for hockey.

“This is just another avenue to reach that community,” he said.

Looking ahead, Otero said he hopes to grow the tournament from five to as many as 45 teams, as the opportunity to add women’s and youth divisions could potentially lead to rapid growth. In the immediate future, he said Jamaica, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and Chile could join next year.

“We’re talking about 45 teams, possibly next year,” Otero said. “I’m not surprised. I really felt strongly about this. Because this is the first tournament, we really don’t have sponsorship. We have two companies, and one is my brothers. It’s been great. It’s been an effort. It’s an investment, but it’s something I feel strongly about.

“The challenge is really getting ice. That’s where I think [we need] help to put a rink in stable countries. Maybe one in Colombia, one in Brazil, and manage it and start developing the talent. There’s definitely interest there.”

As for next year’s LATAM Cup, Fine said the IceDen is looking forward to hosting again.

“Whatever we can do to help support it, we’re going to do it,” he said.

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