Jamaica ice hockey team dominate LATAM CupMonday, October 25, 2021
Jamaica' senior men's ice hockey team ran rampant over all opponents in the LATAM Cup at Panthers Ice Hockey Den in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, two weekends ago.
Denied the opportunity to defend the trophy they won in 2019 on the curious and unprecedented grounds that the team was too strong, Jamaica won all six matches they played as an exhibition team, scoring 59 goals and conceding a mere seven.
The team were playing together for the first time since 2019 as the 2020 competition was abandoned because of COVID-19.
All players are of Jamaican antecedents, a pre-requisite for participation. They currently play in schools, colleges, and leagues across North America, with one player from the United Kingdom.
Don Anderson, president of the Jamaica Ice Hockey Federation, who was with the team, lauded the players on a sterling display of nationalism and commitment to the country as they played each match as if they were defending three trophies.
The players spoke with zeal of their lifelong desire to play for Jamaica and demonstrated this passion on and off the ice.
The team have attracted significant interest from the international federation and from the National Hockey League (NHL) by virtue of the sensation they created in the competition. Offers of assistance have been received from a number of key private sector interests in North America.
One such entity facilitated the presence of its documentary specialist at the tournament to capture footage and interviews in order to put together a story on the progress towards Olympic qualification and beyond.
Plans are now being drafted for this team to continue playing together in competitions during 2022 and considerations are being given to Jamaica hosting a tournament, perhaps in Florida, with teams drawn from across North America.
The team is co-coached by Chris Stewart, who is of Jamaican parentage. He recently retired from the NHL after playing close to 700 regular season games and 39 play-off games. He is also on the board of the International Federation's Hockey Diversity Programme, charged with the responsibility of spreading the game globally.
Additionally, he owns two ice hockey facilities in the US and has indicated a keen interest in further advancing the cause of Jamaica's ice hockey programme through his facilities.
The other coach is Jamie Huscroft, a former professional hockey player of note.
The Jamaica Ice Hockey Federation said its eyes are fixed on qualifying for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games, but the establishment of a rink in Jamaica is a mandatory requirement in order to get there. Discussions are already being held with a view to actioning this into reality, the federation said.
2. Jamaica 8 vs Mexico 0
3. Jamaica 10 vs Puerto Rico 2
4. Jamaica 5 vs Lebanon 4
5. Jamaica 12 vs Venezuela 0
6. Jamaica 12 vs Argentina 1