The Falkland Islands competed in the LATAM Cup in Coral Springs FL, for the first time ever this year and came away with two medals, one each for the under 16’s and the senior team. This is the first time the Falkland Islands has ever competed in this size of tournament and on a full-sized rink.
There were two teams in the competition from the Falkland Islands, the under 16’s playing as Stanley and the seniors playing as ROTW (rest of the world). The Falkland Islands Hockey Association decided to play under these team names after there was notification that the Argentine teams would not receive funding to attend from the Argentine Government Ministry of Sport if the Falkland Islands played under their own flag. It was disappointing to many, but the opportunity to play should not be removed due to political machinations, so to enable the 4 Argentine teams to attend, the Falklands teams agreed to play under Stanley and ROTW this time.
The under 16 team is all local Falkland Islands players, and showed incredible levels of determination and skill especially considering the total lack of ice in the Falklands and only being able to play and train in a basketball court at the school. People from every nation there were really impressed by the level of skill, determination and quality of our young players. They first played Colombia (the eventual champions) which ended up finishing 7-2 to Colombia. It was also the first time the Falklands team had played together on this size of ice surface and in these positions so it was a really great experience for them.
On Saturday morning the under 16s took on a USA team which was made of players which are based at the nearby Pembroke Pines rink. The Falkland Islands boys put in a huge effort with James Hartley and Ethan Fowler (the two youngest in the team) taking the critical centre man positions. The Falklands won 3-1 in a highly competitive game.
Next up one of the most anticipated games was the Argentine U 16 against Falkland Islands U16. The Argentine team are highly skilled and the Falklands teams got to know them well over the pre-tournament training; they are a great team with a great hockey attitude and showed the Falkland’s teams nothing but friendship and kindness throughout the tournament. 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 teams both 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 the tiring Falklands bench. This result put the Falklands in the 3rd place playoff against USA.
This second game against the USA showed that the Falkland Island’s 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, landing 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.
The seniors games were also exciting, having topped their Division 2 group with strong performances and wins over Brazil (4-1) and Mexico (3-1), they earned a bye through to the semi-finals. Ironically enough they ended up playing Mexico again in the semi-final which was an extremely tough game for the Falkland Islands only getting their first goal in the end of the third period to take it to 2-1, they then just managing to equalise with 15 seconds remaining after taking the risky move of pulling their goalie to get another man on the ice. Then in overtime the Falkland Islands continued this momentum and quickly took the golden goal finishing the game 3-2.
The final was then Puerto Rico and the Falklands, this was a tough game with Puerto Rico showing early on how fast and capable their team was, fortunately due to some excellent goaltending from the Falkland Islands team and some great long range shooting the final score was 6-2 to the Falklands giving them the championship for Division 2.
The players, managers, organisers and teams across the board were very supportive of the Falkland Islands being there, and we saw nothing but positive sporting attitude from the whole tournament, and we look forward to competing again next year in this well organised and positive tournament.
The Falklands teams would like to extend thanks for the generous sponsors without which their attendance would not have been possible: Byron Ltd, Tonedog Designs, Sulivan Shipping Services Ltd, Shorty’s Diner, Seafish Chandlery, Penguin Travel, Government House, 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.
Rosters: Under 16’s – Stanley Penguins
• Danny Ross (07) – Forward
• Ethan Fowler (19) – Forward
• Jake Hawksworth (10) – Defenceman
• James Hartley (06) – Forward
• Joseff Murphy (05) – Defenceman
• Lane McKay (11) – Forward
• Malachi Budd (09) – Forward
• Matt Francis (08) – Forward
• Temis Smith (02) – Goaltender
• Theo Duncan (03) – Defenceman
• Thomas Watson (01) – Goaltender
• Travis Jaffray (15) – Defenceman
• Tyrese Ceballos (12) – Goaltender
Senior Team – ROTW
• Arild Stormer (44) – Defenceman
• Claudio Ross (07) – Forward
• Craig Dockrill (91) – Defenceman
• Edward Naus (58) – Forward
• Gabrielle Ceballos (15) - Forward
• Grant Budd (10) – Defenceman
• Hillel Sokolsky (55) – Forward
• Jason Wood (36) – Goaltender
• Jonathan Nicholson (84) – Forward
• Ryan Bahl (19) – Forward
• Sam Cockwell (42) – Forward
- Stuart Duncan (96) – Goaltender
By Sam Cockwell - Stanley, Falkland Islands