Jamaican ice-hockey team gets welcome support from Olympic association

By December 06, 2019

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) is looking into how best it can help the country’s men’s ice hockey team chase for a historic place at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, in 2022.

In September, the team created history when they won the Amerigol LATAM tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States. The tournament was played among Latin American countries that do not have an ice rink.

Jamaica won all its matches.

Recently, the team’s co-captains Jaden Lindo and Teegan Moore paid a courtesy call on JOA President Christopher Samuda, who declared his support for the ice hockey team’s pursuit of another historical achievement.

“We’re going to be discussing how we can best help them on the road to the Winter Olympics. We’re always encouraging the non-traditional sports and particularly winter sports, and we’ll be assisting them in their journey because we’re about creating history in sport for our athletes and country,” said Samuda, under whose leadership several non-traditional disciplines have reaped success in international sporting competition, primarily the Commonwealth, Pan American and Central American and Caribbean Games.

The JOA has expressed its ambitions of sending athletes from 10 sporting disciplines to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. With that in mind, Samuda indicated that he would be providing extra help to those non-traditional sports at which Jamaica excels.

 “We have asked associations involving team sports to submit to us a development programme geared towards qualification to the Olympic Games and beyond, which should include from now an Olympic squad because there has to be from the get-go, among members of the squad, some synergy, game networking, an understanding and advantageous application of skill sets and how to create the run of play if the team is to perform at its optimum,” he said.

Jamaica has extensive experience at Winter Sports having sent bobsleigh teams to the Winter Olympics in 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014 and in 2018 at Pyeongchang, South Korea, where Jamaica sent a women’s team for the very first time.

However, winning the Amerigol LATAM tournament has been a tremendous boost, to the JOA’s current plans.

 “This tournament has catapulted these guys into a position where they are confident of their chances moving forward,” said JOA Vice President Don Anderson.

“Ultimately, we want to take this team to the Olympic Games. It’s going to be a tall order, we’re not fooling ourselves because although we’re a member of the international federation now, we have to have a grassroots programme and we intend to kick that off very shortly.”

At the Amerigol LATAM Tournament, Jamaica beat defending champions Colombia 5-0, previous runners-up Argentina 8-4, Brazil 7-0, Mexico 6-0 and for a second time, they beat Colombia when they again met in the final 2-0 in a penalty shoot-out, after regulation and extra-time play ended in a 2-2 tie.

“We’re going to defend this cup that we won in Fort Lauderdale in 2020 and in-between there will be opportunities for the team to play and we’re exploring all of those,” said Anderson.

“All the players are based overseas. All of them are descendants of Jamaica (that’s a criterion). Several of the players on this team never knew each other before, so what was amazing was how they gelled in the three days. We had players coming from as far away as England. One player (Marlon Williams – based in the UK) even went on a crowdfunding campaign to pay his way. And he wasn’t sure of a game,” Anderson pointed out.

The team’s co-captains, both based in Canada, shared their enthusiasm.

“This experience for me is life-changing. I’m very proud to be Jamaican and have the honour to represent Jamaica,” said Moore. “Wearing the Jamaican colours, it’s dear to my heart. I’ve lots of family here in Jamaica and every time I put on that jersey I think about them. Every time I talk about the team I get goosebumps. To take all the accolades of winning and coming back to Jamaica to share these moments with family and friends it really means a lot and I know that the support from family and friends is growing.”

Lindo agreed.

“It’s an unbelievable experience to see how Jamaica has progressed. This is incredible for hockey and Jamaica overall. The sky’s the limit for Jamaica and we just keep proving people wrong. There’s no ice here and to have a country that hasn’t been participating much in winter sport because of the climate, it just shows that we can extend beyond our expectations and prove to the world that we’re able to accomplish anything we put our minds to,” he said.

“It's a very exciting time and opportunity to be part of this. It is definitely one of the most memorable moments of my hockey career. It’s history in the making and I’m happy to be a part of it. And Jamaica will make it to the Olympics,” he added.

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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