On thin ice - International hockey federation says Jamaica needs a rink
Jamaica has broken new ground as a tropical country with teams participating at the Winter Olympics in bobsled but getting an ice hockey team into the Winter Olympics may be a whole different matter.
Don Anderson, who now acts as a liaison with the Jamaican Ice Hockey Federation told STAR Sports that the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) requires nations that wish to participate in the Olympics have a rink in their own country.
A Jamaican Under 20 team recently participated in an ice hockey competition in Canada and performed creditably in three games. The players, who are based in Canada and the United States are coached by Jamaican Canadian Graeme Townshend.
However, Anderson said that while Jamaica is an association member of the international body they still have two requirements to meet to become a full member.
"To gain full membership they have to have an ice rink and a developmental programme," Anderson said.
Anderson said he had been in discussions with persons who had built ice rinks in tropical climates such as those of Mexico and Dubai about the possibility of building a rink in Jamaica.
"We have been actively trying to comply. A team came here two years ago and toured Montego Bay, the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium, the National Arena and that move is on," he added.
While the cost to build an ice hockey rink would be anywhere between US$2 and US$4 million, Anderson said the more prohibitive cost may be the maintenance of such a facility.
He admitted that it may be easier to convince the IIHF to allow countries who do not have rinks to become full members.
"It's a conversation that we want to have. There would certainly be precedence for it (with the bobsled and ice skating teams). It's something we are looking at and we would have to work with the Jamaica Olympic Association," he said.