This year the Falkland Islands Hockey Association took two teams to compete in the Amerigol Latam Cup for the first time and came away with medals for both teams! The performance from the Falkland’s players was superb, with the under 16’s coming away with a bronze, and a gold for the senior team (which includes a number of players from around the world that are involved in Falklands hockey so competed under the rest of the world (ROTW) name). This tournament is traditional 5-5 ice hockey and the first time the club has played in a proper international tournament of this kind so this was a new experience for most, including rules for icing, penalty minutes, and a huge ice surface.
The competition began for the Falklands for the senior team with a game against Mexico which finished 3-1 to the Falklands. Next the under 16s took on the tournament favourites and eventual champions Colombia, which ended up finishing 7-2 to Colombia. Our boys played really well, and put in a couple of fantastic goals courtesy of Lane McKay with assists from Malachi Budd and Theo Duncan. It was also the first time the lads played together on this ice surface and in these positions so it was a really great experience for them.
Next the seniors took on Brazil which finished 4-1 to the Falklands with local goaltender Stuart Duncan playing an excellent game and nearly getting the shutout (0.973 save percentage which is awesome). This put the team on top of their side of the draw. This resulted in a buy though the quarter finals to the semi-finals, which also gave the senior team a very welcome rest over the Saturday.
The under 16s then took on a USA team which was made of players which are based at the nearby Pembroke Pines rink. They are a good group of skaters and hockey players with all the facilities to practice and play hockey. Our boys put in a huge effort with James Hartley and Ethan Fowler (the two youngest in the team) taking the critical centre man positions, and Matt Francis was changing from forward to defence. This seemed to really help the lines and the whole team showed a great poise and strength in the game especially considering where they have to train and develop. The boys won 3-1 in a highly competitive game. With goals from: Danny Ross, Matt Francis and Malachi Budd, and assists from Danny Ross and Joseff Murphy.
Next up one of the most hotly contested games was the Argentine under 16 against our under 16. The Argentine team are highly skilled, and we got to know them well over the pre-tournament training, they are a great team with a great hockey attitude. Argentina ultimately triumphed in this game with the final score 6-1 but that doesn’t reflect the whole game, which was only 2-1 at the end of the second period. The team gave 100% for the entire game and left everything they had on the ice, but the larger bench and level of ice experience for the Argentine team showed in the final period with them netting another 4 goals against our tiring lads. They could only get the one goal in this game from Malachi Budd with an assist from Jake Hawksworth, but again that doesn’t reflect the level of effort and skill, with a huge amount showed by all the team.
This result put the boys in the 3rd place playoff against USA.
3rd place playoff (USA Vs. Falkland’s) This time it was clear the boys had settled into their positions and took the fight to the USA with Matt Francis leading the scoring with 4 goals on his sheet, a big part of the 6-3 victory, this landed the boys a highly deserved 3rd place. This was the first ever medal position for the Falklands in a full size traditional international ice hockey tournament!
It was an impressive stats sheet for the team with goals from Matt Francis (4), Theo Duncan, and Malachi Budd. Aided by assists from James Hartley (3), Danny Ross (2), Lane McKay, Ethan Fowler and Matt Francis.
The score sheets never reflect the whole team effort that is required to win in Ice Hockey, with excellent effort also put in by Travis Jaffray in defence, remaining solid in the Falklands teams own half. The goalies can’t go without mention, with Temis Smith, Tyrese Ceballos and Tom Watson all putting in a whole game each, and all getting a shift in the 3rd place game.
Later that morning the seniors played Mexico again as they had won their semi-final. This game was tough with the Mexican keeper playing well and excellent passing and defending keeping the score sheet blank for the Falkland Islands and Mexico slowly collecting 2 goals. That was until the final four minutes when Jonathan Nicholson finally got the Falklands their opening goal. With a minute remaining the Falklands pulled the keeper to get another attacker on the ice; this nearly ended in disaster when Mexico took a shot at open goal, fortunately missing and giving the Falklands another attack with Craig Dockrill netting the all-important equaliser with only 15 seconds remaining on the clock. This meant that there would be 5 minutes of overtime playing 3-3 hockey – this suited our team and playing style well and Ryan Bahl quickly got the golden goal which took the team into the final with Puerto Rico.
The final hurdle to the seniors championship was the game with Puerto Rico, no-one on the team had seen them play but from the results the team knew they were dominant and did not concede goals easily.
The final started with PR showing incredible skating speed and stickhandling, with the goaltender Jason Wood taking shots right away. Then the breakthrough was a long dumped puck toward the goal from our blue line which went in! We had caught out the PR goalie unawares (which happens even to the professionals), but it lit a fire for the Falklands and the game continued in that style with Puerto Rico pushing their skating speed and skills to get shots at our goalie (which he mostly had covered), and our team breaking out and taking successful long shots. The final score was 6-2 to the Falklands. Giving them the Falklands their first win at a tournament
This whole tournament was a great success, and with an international contingent of teams from throughout the American continents including: Jamaica, Puerto Rico, USA, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and of course the Falkland Islands. We made great friends there, and contacts which are passionate about developing hockey in the Falklands and helping us however we can to take the sport to the next level. Thanks especially to Juan Carlos Ortero from Amerigol ltd. for organising the Latam Cup and the Florida Panthers NHL team for hosting it in their training rink the Ice Den, as well as Wayne Whitmore and Wanda Weed for organising the pre tournament sniper/goalie camp, and NHL referee legend Mike Leggo and Michaela Bahl for holding a 2 day referee camp. It was a total experience that we wont forget!
And of course our sponsors without which it would have been impossible to attend: Byron Ltd, Tonedog Designs, Sulivan Shipping Services Ltd, Shorty’s Diner, Seafish Chandlery, Penguin Travel, FIG, Seaview Logistics, JK Marine, Beauchene Fishing Company Ltd., Cyril and Val Ellis, G&K Services, Argos Ltd., Fortuna Ltd., Energise, Sure, The Narrows Bar, and the Skating Club.
Thank you to you all!
Thanks also to Nikki Murphy(NM), Marika McKay(MM), Nick Francis(NF), Ryan Bahl(RB), and BC Photography (BC) for use of their photographs.
*(TM) – Team Manager, (HC) – Head Coach, (AC) – Assistant Coach, (C) Captain