Just over a month after announcing their intention to play ice hockey, the Falkland Islands have won their very first game after defeating Chilean club Santiago Yetis 8-2 on Thursday.
With a total population of just 2,932 people, Falkland Islands is the smallest hockey nation to play organized ice hockey on record. Back in May, the team announced their intentions to travel to Chile twice a year to compete in 3-on-3 games taking place. For the Islands, their victory on Friday took place in just their very first attempt, a big step forward for the small nation. The win comes just a month after Brazil won their very first hockey game, and three months after Georgia took down Bosnia 4-1 for their inaugural victory.
According to an image of the score sheet, Ryan Bahl led the way with a five goal performance, assisting on two other goals in the contest. Bahl, a native of California, has played hockey in various different countries, including Spain, New Zealand and South Africa. While he’s trained on ice for many years, the rest of the team focused on honing skills in inline and ball hockey in the country, with months and months of preparation going in to their successful debut.
The win comes part of a 3-on-3 tournament in Chile known as the Copa Invernada, a four team tournament involving the Punta Arenas Kotaix and Santiago Yetis from the host nation, as well as the Rio Grande Dragones from Argentina. Falkland Islands’ next game is set for Friday against the Kotaix, with their third and final preliminary round game to take place against Dragones on Saturday. The gold and bronze medal games will take place on Sunday.
Just a day after winning their first ever ice hockey game in their debut, the Falkland Islands stay 2-0 at the Copa Invernada tournament in Chile, defeating Kotaix from the host nation for the 14-3 victory.
Led again by Ryan Bahl, easily the top player in the tournament, the new hockey country with just under 3000 residents made easy work to take the victory. The win came just a day after their first ever victory, an 8-2 clubbing of Santiago Yetis.
Friday, however, came even easier. By the end of the first period (in a game featuring just two periods and 3-on-3 action), the Islands recorded their second straight win after taking the 9-2 lead after a period of action alone. Made up of players who, for the most part, never took part in an ice hockey game before this weekend, the Falkland Islands have already clinched a spot in the finals against the Rio Grande Dragones from Argentina on Sunday. They both coincidentally will play their final preliminary round games as a tuneup on Saturday, with both teams heading in with undefeated records.
On Thursday, they were newly crowned hockey victors, securing their first win in dominating fashion. On Sunday, they became hockey champions.
The Copa Invernada in Chile proved to be the opening event for the Falkland Islands ice hockey team, the smallest hockey nation on record. A brand new team with very resources and players to choose from, the Islands made their debut on the ice this past week, with an 8-2 win over Santiago Yetis on Thursday setting the tone. The team finished that up with 14-3 and 6-3 victories over the next two days, earning them a spot in the finals of the four team tournament.
On Sunday, the Falkland Islands met with the Rio Grande Dragones from Argentina for the second straight day. For the Islands, the team had won by three goals the day before, and with 28 goals in the first three games, it looked rather promising heading into the winner-takes-all event. The team would once again allow three goals to their 3-on-3 rivals at the other end of the rink, but their nine goals was what it would take to grab the 9-3 victory and the tournament championship.
The expectation is that the Falkland Islands will return to Chile for one more chance at playing again on the ice this year, with no ice available in their own country. Falkland Islands is one of the 14 British Overseas Territories, a group of nations with very little hockey experience so far. Another member of the group, Cayman Islands, has played ice hockey previously, competing in the 2005 World Pond Hockey Championships in Canada. Gibraltar also has a rink, unlike the previous two countries, but has had no ice hockey action to date.
With a total population of just 2,932 people, Falkland Islands is the smallest hockey nation to play organized ice hockey on record. Even while their participation on the ice is limited, it’s still great to see interest in a future hockey nation, looking for support to help take them to the next step in the hockey ladder. But that will take time, and Falkland Islands Chairman Martyn Barlow knows that. But as you’ll found out below, the interest is definitely there, and hopefully, the world will hear more from the small hockey nation soon enough.
The Falkland Islands Ice Hockey team have made history, what is reported to be the smallest contries Ice Hockey team have finally suited up and have been on the Ice training on Punta Arenas, Chile. With a week to go the FI team will be assisting local Ice Hockey teams with training and holding hockey clinics, training continues while the count down to face off continues..
Falkland Islands Hockey has finally matured. From humble beginnings of uni hockey, to indoor hockey then Dek Hockey. Finally Inline hockey to allow deveopment for the big boy - Falkland Islands Ice Hockey has finally arrived.
Although no rink exists in the Falklands, though the support from the FCO, Falkland Islands Government, Morrisons Construction, Fortuna, Standard Chartered Bank, Energise Group and Sure the Falklands will be looking to send a small squad away twice a year to play Ice hockey in Punta Arenas.
The ice in Punta is small so the games will be 3 v 3 much the same format as dek and inline hockey are played in stanley. This inturn means cheaper costs meaning more visits to our new friends in Punta Arenas.
We intend competing in the big winter tournements usually held in June and in the smaller summer competition usually held around end of January time.
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