Venues named for Jamaica/Puerto Rico ice hockey series
The venues for Jamaica’s senior ice hockey team’s three-game series against Puerto Rico’s national team in New York City have now been finalised.
The schedule is June 8 at The City Ice Pavillion in Queens; and June 9 and 10 at the World Ice Arena in Flushing Meadows, Queens.
All matches start at 9:00 pm (8:00 pm Jamaica time), the Jamaica Olympic Ice Hockey Federation said in a news release on Monday, adding that there is significant interest from the Jamaican diaspora in New York for the upcoming matches.
“The team, coming off comprehensive victories in the 2019 and the 2021 LATAM tournaments played in Fort Lauderdale, have accepted an invitation to play in New York as part of their effort to grow the sport and keep the team playing as often as possible,” the federation said.
Since 2019, the Jamaicans have recorded victories over teams from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Lebanon, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico, creating a high degree of awareness of their presence in international ice hockey playing circles.
At the 2021 LATAM Cup, Jamaica, who were the defending champions, were forced to play as an exhibition team as the tournament organisers considered the team too strong for the opponents.
In that tournament, the team scored 58 goals to seven against in six matches. To date, the Jamaicans are unbeaten in 12 games.
The federation said the current team will comprise mainly players who were in the 2021 contingent. The national coach is Chris Stewart, a recently retired National Hockey League (NHL) star of Jamaican parentage, who played close to 800 NHL games in an illustrious professional career.
The federation said it currently has 78 players of Jamaican descent registered. All are based in the USA and Canada, with a few in Europe.
In July 2022 the Jamaica federation launched a local programme to develop the sport here in line with the international federation’s requirements and had a week-long summer camp which was attended by more than 50 youngsters â€” boys and girls aged 10-14. The camp was led by Ted Cheesebrough, the assistant coach of the senior team.