Look out hockey world, a cool breeze is blowing in hot from the Caribbean.
The Jamaican Olympic ice hockey effort put an Under-18 team on ice over the weekend at a tournament at the Nottawasaga Inn Resort & Conference Centre in Alliston, Ont.
The team, comprised mostly of Canadian players of Caribbean heritage, won three games but wound up on the short end of a 4-3 score in the championship game. Still, just being in the tourney was a symbolic victory for the Jamaican Olympic Ice Hockey Federation in its drive to form a team to compete in the Winter Olympics in the near future.
JOIHF entered the exhibition squad in the tourney to show potential players, donors, and Jamaicans on the island nation and throughout North America that it’s serious about its Olympic quest.
There are still obstacles to overcome, mainly funding and the lack of an ice skating rink in Jamaica. International Ice Hockey Federation rules require members to have ice hockey facilities in their countries.
JOIHF officials say they’re working to overcome the hurdles. In the meantime, the organization gets major points for coming up with the most bad-ass home and away hockey jerseys on the planet.
The showing by Jamaica comes on the heels of Haiti capturing the Gold Medal in the B Pool of the International Street and Ball Hockey world championship last month in Zug, Switzerland. The team was made up of mostly Haitian-Canadians players from the Montreal area. Its assistant coach and lead fund-raiser was former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque.