By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey
We had the great pleasure of interviewing Dicky Haiek president of Club Argentino de Hockey sobre Heilo y en Linea. Mr Haiek has been involved in hockey in Argentina since 1995.
Can you tell our audience a little bit about yourself and a brief history of Ice hockey in Argentina?
My name is Jorge F. Haiek everybody call me Dicky, I am a System Analysis but I started my sporting life of Ice Hockey in 1985. In 1990 I lived in Montreal, Canada and studied and played in Concordia University,
When the Roller Hockey started in 1994 I tried the wheels and played in the First World Cup inline Hockey in Chicago 1995 for my Country Argentina. I returned to Buenos Aires and started to promote and develop the sport.
It started in cities and schools and then we built the first inline hockey rink in Buenos Aires. For 3 years I played in the FIRS Inline Hockey World Championships and when I knew that International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) started to organize WC of this sport I took a plane and went to meet with the staff of IIHF in the 1996 WC in Anaheim California, that’s when we form the Asociacion Argentina de Hockey sobre Hielo y en Linea (AAHHL) in 1997. Since that date we continue helping to develop both ice hockey and inline in Argentina.
You are the President of Club Argentino de Hockey sobre Hielo y en Linea, what can you tell us about the club?
When the AAHHL started in 1997 we were some players but now we are some clubs that promote and practice booth sports, thats why we created Club Argentino de Hockey sobre Hielo y en Linea (CAHHL). CAHHL is one of the biggest Clubs of Hockey in Argentina and we organize some teams to participate in different Tournaments.
What can you tell us what the hockey program are like in Argentina?
The program of Hockey in Argentina is based of Inline Hockey because we are not a Ice Philosophy Country like USA or Canada, most of our players learn to play inline hockey and then transfer successfully to the Ice. We have some players that started to move to North American to play Ice Hockey in the top level. My son is one of them, he moved to Ontario, Canada and is playing in AAA.
Inline hockey is very popular in Argentina how hard as it been to make ice hockey a viable sport in the country?
We need a Indoor Olympic size Ice Rink, meanwhile we have to continue to train our players in the small ice hockey rinks and inline camps in Argentina.
We have an Outdoor Olympic Rink in the south part of our country In Ushuaia and the players who live there are a very good players, I know that we can be on the top with the correct infrastructure.
There are two organization in Argentina running hockey the AAHHL which is recognized by the IIHF and the FAHH which claims to be the true leader in hockey in the county. Why have the two organization not come together to form one Federation?
The AAHHL is recognized by all entities of our sport in Argentina and international (IIHF, Secretary of Sports, Argentina Olympic Committee, etc), and was the first organization to promote and develop booth sports, long after the other federation (FAHH) was created and is not recognized by any entity but did his best to achieve these recognition, FAHH have not been able to remove the AAHHL which is the official body Argentina ice hockey.
AAHHL is open to all the players and Clubs but the people who are in charge of the FAHH don’t want to join and work together. It is not true that the FAHH is the leader of the Ice Hockey in Argentina they have some players and most of that them participate in the AAHHL tournaments and camps.
Argentina has been taking part in the Pan American Ice Hockey tournaments in Mexico, how has this helped ice hockey develop in the country?
The Pan American Ice Hockey Tournament was a idea created for both Federations (Mexican and Argentina) 6 years ago. Is very helpful to our development because we can not to participate in the World Championships or Olympic Qualifiers. We started to participate with one team in 2014 and last year we participate with 4 teams 2 Men and 2 Women more than 80 players.
Do you see more Latin and South American countries taking part in the Pan American Tournament in the future?
For next years tournament Chile, Jamaica, Venezuela, Ecuador, USA and Canada are invited to 2017 Pan American tournament. I hope some of these countries will participate and start to be a Traditional Ice Hockey Tournament in the region !!!
When do you see Argentina taking part in the IIHF World Championships program?
We need the basic standards to participate (at least 1 Indoor Olympic Size Rink) in IIHF World Championships or Olympics.