Jamaica names squad for ice hockey series in New York
Jamaica's ice hockey team after their success in the 2021 LATAM Cup in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo: Observer file)

THE Jamaica Olympic Ice Hockey Federation has named a 19-man squad ,which it said "is rich in both experience and quality", for the national team's June 8-10 three-game series against Puerto Rico in New York City.

Suiting up for the team nicknamed Buffalo Soldiers will be forwards Liam Folkes, Tre Folkes, Quinn Chevers, Josh Mitton, Nate Mitton, Kyle Neuber, Carter Thornton, Sean Murphy, Kolby Johnson, and Marcus Sang; defenders Zechariah Thomas, Kristoff Malcolm, Jahwara Rennalls, Christian Nichols, Ethan Finlason, Taos Jordan, and Avery Grant; and goaltenders Moriyah Tulloch and Anthony Marshall.

A news release from the federation described Nate Mitton as a "crafty forward" who has played more 100 games as a University of Ontario Institute of Technology student, then went on to play professionally in the United States for three seasons in the East Coast Hockey League.

Forward Neuber, the federation added, has played more than 10 years professionally in Canada and the US. He is currently playing in his fifth season with the Florida Everblades in the East Coast Hockey League where he helped his team to the Kelly Cup Championship in 2022.

Tre Folkes competed at Ryerson University and his twin brother Liam was a captain at Penn State University, where he won several championships prior to playing professional hockey in the US.

Twenty-five-year-old defender Rennalls played National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hockey at Castleton University in Vermont, and upon graduating from college in 2022 moved to Sweden where he currently plays professionally for Helsingborgs Hockey Club.

Forward Johnson currently plays for Trinity Western University in Canada and has become a professional prospect, while forward Chevers currently plays at Hamline University in Minnesota, USA.

"Schedule conflicts prevented team captains Jaden Lindo and Teegan Moore from playing in the upcoming series versus Puerto Rico but each is expected to return for future competitions," the federation stated.

It said that as the quality of Jamaica's competition increases, the team will bring budding star Anson Thornton, who has signed a contract with the National Hockey League's (NHL's) Arizona Coyotes, back into the fold.

Several youngsters will be making their début at the New York series, among them 19-year-old defender Jordan who currently plays for Owen Sound Attack in the highly competitive Ontario Hockey League in Eastern Canada; 21-year-old Sang who just completed his junior hockey career for the New Jersey Titans and will begin his NCAA career at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, this September; and 17-year-old defender Grant who currently plays for the Brockville Braves in the Central Canada Hockey League.

The team is led by Head Coach Chris Stewart, a Jamaican-Canadian who played 11 seasons in the NHL — regarded as the best ice hockey league in the world — and was a former first-round NHL draft pick.

Stewart is assisted by Ted Cheesebrough, a veteran American hockey coach who currently coaches NCAA hockey at Hamline Universit; and Jamie Huscroft who played 14 seasons of professional hockey, including 10 years in the NHL.

Jamaica Olympic Ice Hockey Federation President Don Anderson, who previously served as chef de mission for multiple Jamaican Olympic teams, will lead the team's excursion to New York.

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