Jamaica ice hockey tryouts a big success
The Jamaica Olympic Ice Hockey Federation's (JOIHF) first try-outs held on Sunday in Toronto, Canada, was a big success with over 20 athletes turning out for coaching tips from Jamaican Graeme Townsend, Canadian Ice Hockey Hall of Famer, who has been appointed to coach.
Hockey players came from several areas within Toronto and the United States, and there was one athlete from Sweden, whose mother is Jamaican. That player was prepared to pay his own way to be apart of these try-outs.
It is anticipated that this number will grow significantly over the next few months as news of the try-outs prompted calls from several other hockey players to be part of the programme. The try-outs continued into Sunday and are part of the first steps towards identifying talent and building a Jamaican team that can compete in the Winter Olympics.
Townsend, who is also a former skating coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the first Jamaican to play in the National Hockey League was impressed with the talent he saw.
Townsend was quoted in the Toronto Star newspaper as saying, "if we can pull this off you are looking at an inspiring story and the idea that anything is achievable if you put your mind to it. If Jamaica can get a team in the World Championship or the Olympics that's something so outlandish I think it might actually work".
He was joined in the training sessions Sunday by Teegan Moore, star forward with the Colorado Eagles hockey team, who helped with the routines. Moore also has Jamaican connections.