Category: South America (page 1 of 2)

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 NHL.com. 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 amerigolhockey.com

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.

Ice hockey comes to Santiago

By Nicholas Siler – Santiago Times

It’s a typically chilly Saturday morning during an untypically warm week in early August in Santiago and the Cerrogrado ice rink in Mall Vespucio has opened its doors to the Yetis, the city’s only ice hockey team. The players take to the ice and warm up under the glow of dim ballroom lights and disco balls hovering over the rink. Later the rink will be filled with families grasping the last bit of winter fun. Fresh from winning the Copa Invernada in Punta Arenas in July, the team has its sights set on September, October and beyond. In Punta Arenas they fended off teams from Iquique, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia in Argentina and the Falkland Islands and came home with the trophy. Chile appears to be taking its first steps into the fast-paced and ferociously competitive sport of ice hockey, fueled by aspirations of a federation that previously paid attention only to in-line hockey, a variation of the sport played off the ice on roller blades. However, the Chilean Ice Hockey Federation faces limits and hindrances to funding and publicity.

The Yetis took to the ice as an organized team in 2015 and became a recognized legal entity in 2016. Most of the Yetis had been in-line hockey players. In places like La Serena and Iquique, much of the players’ exposure to hockey came from foreigners – most often Canadians — working at nearby mines. Initially, hockey was played on roller blades on tiles of plastic flooring, since sustaining an ice rink was as good as impossible. Chile sent a national team to the 2000 and 2002 international in-line hockey championships and almost returned in 2015, but rival Argentina took the slot as the sole South American qualifier. Slowly many in-line hockey players became acquainted with ice hockey through media and trips overseas. However, there were very few opportunities at home. The Yetis third place finish in 2015 at the ice hockey Copa Invernada tournament and its title victory at this year’s contest have made Monica Arias, President of the Chilean Ice and Inline Hockey Association, cautiously optimistic.

An ice hockey team from Iquique regularly competes on ice with the southerly teams of Santiago and Punta Arenas. Those teams practice on ice rinks but the rinks are neither regulation-size nor freely available, as they belong to recreational ice-skating companies that operate them for entertainment at shopping malls. Arias points out that despite this handicap, media attention both abroad and in Chile has increased dramatically and she hopes that the Patagonia Challenge Cup (in which a team from Punta Arenas took part) and a potential Chile-only tournament, will increase the public’s interest. The association’s goal of sustaining two teams in Santiago (as is the case in Punta Arenas) will, she says, increase interest, as will its aspiration to field a national team for the Pan American Ice Hockey Tournament next year in Mexico City.

There is good reason for Chile to be hopeful. However, ex-Barcelona player and current Level 4 ice hockey coach Andrew Jasicki cautioned that without a regulation-size rink, none of Chile’s players would perform well in Mexico City. The Copa Invernada is a three-on-three tournament as only so many players can fit on a recreational rink. Full-game experience is severely lacking. Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina practice on larger rinks than those in Chile. In fact, the Patagonian Argentinian town of Ushuaia has an Olympic sized rink as well as a team that competes with teams from Argentina. Additionally, Ushuaia plays host to the End of the World hockey tournament which involves full teams on a regulation size rink. Still, there are exceptions. Colombia, which lacks full-sized rinks, beat heavyweight Mexico twice in a row for the gold and claimed a bronze at three previous tournaments. It benefits from dual citizens with professional or semi-professional ice hockey experience.

Argentina and Mexico send two squads each to the tournament, bringing the total number of teams competing to six. Former Chilean national in-line hockey team member and hockey promoter Mauricio Vieytes told International Ice Hockey Federation reporter Andy Potts that the Chilean federation might look into doing the same as Colombia, drawing on Chile’s expatriate/dual-citizen community from the United States, Italy, and Finland.

There are many challenges. Arias says coaches base their training on anecdotal experiences. The small recreational rinks make training awkward and sometimes teams share space with the public out just to enjoy the ice. Also, the players pay their own way. Arias explains, “At this time, each athlete finances their own actions, such as activities, participation at international tournaments, travel etc. The Yetis are a new club with no external funding, nor has it been nominated for competitive funding projects in any category or institution. We have only been using our own resources. We are already pressed for time to be part of the selection process because our situation is complicated considering the distance players have to travel right now.” At a more fundamental level, there has been little attention given to the prospects of ice hockey in Chile by the organized sporting authorities in the country. Arias plans to hold a meeting with the general secretary of the Chilean Olympic committee hoping for more help, infrastructure, and funding. “The idea is to develop a presentation of hockey to submit to the community either on the municipal or state level. She considers Mexico 2017 a steppingstone to the Winter Olympics in China in 2022.

It will be difficult to get there. Chile has few full-time players and has only three mall-based recreational ice rinks for practice. More public interest is needed to sustain hockey and develop talent for future competitions. Also missing is official cooperation between Argentina and Chile to mutually improve the quality of the sport. But Arias notes that increasing funding for infrastructure alone will not be enough and that teams need to perform. Still, the recent dominance of the Yetis and the successful junior youth ice hockey tournament in Punta Arenas give hope for the future. Perhaps hockey in Chile is finishing the first period of a match to win the public’s attention, with two more to go. How that game will end remains to be seen, but the opportunity for success is there.

Pan American Movement

Image result for pan american map

By National Teams of Ice Hockey

Their is a Ice Hockey movement afoot in the Pan American region, that includes North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean to form a American Ice Hockey Confederation in two or three years.

This project is being lead by Mr. Hector Iannicelli is the Argentinian Ice Hockey Association’s President and
The Mexicans Ice hockey federation’s President

The first step is to start conversations and to invite to countries the next Pan American Ice Hockey Tournament in 2017, this process has already begun. Canada and The United states are welcome to join the tournament with with amateurs’ teams.
There is also been conversation to to bring back the Pan American Winter Games (4 years). The Mexicans federation’s President has already started conversations with ODEPA and the ideas was very well received.

Here is some History on the Winter Pan American games:

There have been attempts to hold Winter Pan American Games throughout the history of the games, but these have had little success. An initial attempt to hold winter events was made by the organizers of the 1951 Pan American Games in Buenos Aires, who planned to stage winter events later in the year but dropped the idea due to lack of interest. Reliable winter snow in the Americas is limited to two countries, the United States and Canada.
Andean winter weather is often fickle, and higher elevation areas in South America with annual snow often lack the infrastructure to host major sporting events. Another difficulty is that the Americas cover two hemispheres, which creates scheduling issues related to reverse seasons.

Lake Placid, New York tried to organize Winter Games in 1959 but, again, not enough countries expressed interest. The plans were eventually cancelled.

In 1988, members of PASO voted to hold the first Pan American Winter Games at Las Leñas, Argentina in September 1989. It was further agreed that Winter Games would be held every four years. Lack of snow however, forced the postponement of the games until September 16–22, 1990  when only eight countries sent 97 athletes to Las Leñas. Of that total, 76 were from just three countries of Argentina, Canada, and the United States. Weather was unseasonably warm and again there was little snow, so only three Alpine Skiing events – the Slalom, Giant Slalom, and Super G were staged. The United States and Canada won all 18 medals.

PASO awarded the second Pan American Winter Games to Santiago, Chile for 1993. The United States warned that it would not take part unless a full schedule of events was held. The Santiago organizing committee eventually gave up on planning the Games after the United States Olympic Committee declined to participate, and the idea has not been revived since.

Hockey Nation Profile: Brazil’s Latest Adventure in Sports

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By Steve Ellis – NHL Numbers

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games from Rio de Janeiro recently finished off with one of the most memorable Olympics in recent years, albeit for many negative reasons. Whether it be political turmoil, financial issues or general problems with the venues themselves, it was a tournament doomed from the start.

For Brazillian athletes, it was tough to see what the world was saying about the country. But while everyone was critiquing the world’s most talented athletes, a seemingly unknown Brazilian sports team was coming off a recent tournament appearance of their own. They’ve been together for a few teams, but unless you’re a hardcore fan, there’s a good chance you had no idea they even existed.

Of course, we’re talking about the Brazilian national ice hockey team.

Rolling Start

Like many warmer nations, Brazil got their hockey start on roller blades. In inline hockey, there are nowhere near the amount of teams that participate due to the lack of general popularity in the sport. Regardless, Brazil has put together a very serviceable team over the past few years, competing at the Division I tournament back in 2014.

But from their start, getting a chance to play hockey on ice was their goal. The team paired up with the Brazillian Confederation of Ice Sports, which gave them some legitimacy, but that was about it. They had to work their tails off to make sure they could hit the ice some day.

It seemed impossible, especially with their weather conditions, but they were still going to find a way.

Pan-Am Dreams

They had no sponsors, limited funding and very few experienced players. But Brazil still entered the 2014 Pan-American Ice Hockey Games with high hopes and excited dreams. The brand new tournament was a strange one, getting delayed a while before eventually making their summer debut in 2014. 

It seemed weird that Brazil was attempting to play ice hockey, but they surely showed up ready to battle.

Their first time playing internationally definitely left a lot to desire. It didn’t help that most of the team had very little time on ice beforehand. In fact, most players made their debut at the tournament itself. But every team has to start somewhere. They played their very first game on the ice against Mexico on March 2nd, 2014, a game that they knew was going to be tough, especially since Mexico was using much of their World Championship roster.

They lost 16-0.

Their next game was three days later, a game that was surely going to be more competitive against Argentina. They were close, with Daniel Baptista scoring twice late in the third and Jose Henrique Vasconcelos adding a third goal in a late game dash, but they couldn’t overcome their opponents in an eventual 5-3 loss.

And then they had the great honour of playing against Canada, made up of former minor pro and junior hockey players. Canada participated at the Pan-Am to help smaller countries develop by having their expertise in tournament planning and development make their way down south to Mexico. For Brazil, it was a great chance to see what the top ranked IIIHF nation was all about.

They lost 16-0. Again.

Brazil would lose to Colombia 14-0 in their final game of the tournament, a result that ultimately put them in dead last. But that was to be expected for a team that had never graduated from inline hockey beforehand. They set their sights on 2015, where they would hope for a better result under the guidance of coach Jens Hinderlie.

2015 saw what can only be considered to be their best effort yet. In the days leading up to the tournament, Hinderlie made sure to get the players as much ice time as possible. When playing against tournament powerhouse Mexico, and even the rising stars from Colombia, they would need a good effort to contend for a medal.

With no Canada, their odds were better than ever. On the opening day of the tournament, June 3rd, 2015, Brazil managed to beat a team of Mexican U17 hockey players by a score of 5-2, their first ever ice hockey victory. They followed that up with an impressive 7-0 victory against Argentina’s B squad, their first ever international shutout.

Things truly were looking really bright for Brazil. Their 3-0 loss to Colombia in the third game didn’t actually seem like that bad of a loss, especially since Colombia eventually went on to get the surprising gold medal. They’d win one more game before the tournament was over, a 6-1 victory over Argentina’s best team.

All of a sudden, Brazil had a bronze medal. They had just made ice hockey history with a bunch of people you’d never expect.

To Better Days

Brazil found themselves in the 2016 edition of the Pan-American Ice Hockey Games, this time winning just two games. Unlike in 2015, the tournament had a formal medal round format, with Brazil falling 2-0 to Mexico’s B team in the bronze medal game. It was still an effort worth congratulating, despite falling to Mexico’s second best squad. For Brazil, it showed tremendous growth from their first tournament, where embarrassment took over due to their lack of prior ice hockey skill.

The future looks bright for the team. They still continue to train with inline hockey, but they’re hoping for more on ice in the future. Hinderlie is looking into getting synthetic ice for training, and while it won’t make you eligible to play World Championship events, it is the step in the right direction for a team looking for every advantage they can get. They still play to play in the 2017 edition of the tournament, and with future funding from other sources and any success they have on the ice, the team will look to expand for the future.

We’re pulling for you, Brazil.

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