JAMAICA are scheduled to face a strong Puerto Rico team in a three-match ice hockey series in New York City in June.
Discussions have been under way for some time now in an effort to find dates and rinks to hold the event, the Jamaica Ice Hockey Federation said in a news release.
"The dates have now been set for June 8 to the 11th, with matches scheduled to be played each evening of the 8th, 9th and 10th," the federation said, adding that the tournament venue will be announced by the end of this week.
According to the federation, the Jamaicans are very excited about being together on the ice again after the resounding success of their participation in the 2021 LATAM tournament. Now, the Hockey Operations Committee is working to ensure the availability of approximately 20 of the best players for the series.
The Jamaica Ice Hockey Federation has close to 80 players of Jamaican descent who are registered with it and who have been engaged over the last few months in anticipation of the announcement of playing opportunities.
Announcement of the Jamaica-Puerto Rico series has been met with positive responses from the core of the team that last played together in Fort Lauderdale in 2021 for the LATAM Cup.
"In that tournament Jamaica, as defending champions, played as an exhibition team as we were considered too strong for the opposing teams. The Jamaica team proved the organising committee correct by convincingly winning all six games, scoring 58 goals with seven against, beating Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Lebanon, and Venezuela," the federation stated.
The federation said the matches in New York are expected to generate significant interest amongst the Jamaican Diaspora in the tri-state area and that there is a plan to engage all the civic, business and cultural organisations in an effort to whip up support for the team over that weekend.
Prior to the June matches Jamaica will be represented at the annual congress of the international federation scheduled for Tampere, Finland. This will coincide with the World Championship set for May 13 to 28.
This is the second World Championship that Jamaica ice hockey delegates will attend, the first being in Bratislava, Slovenia in 2019 when local Ice Hockey Federation President Don Anderson was on hand to watch those games and represent Jamaica. This year Jamaica will be represented by EJ Phillips, board member and accredited coach.
In July the second summer camp for local players will be held in Kingston. Last year 50 children between the ages of 10 and 14 were part of a week-long camp held under the auspices of the Government's Institute of Sports, exposing them to the rudiments of ice hockey.