CAC qualifiers start today at JN Hockey Field
Thirty-six players from local men's and women's national hockey teams will be competing in the Jamaica National Group-sponsored Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Hockey Qualifiers at the JN Hockey Field, Mona, from today until next Sunday.
The event, which is being hosted by the Jamaica Hockey Federation (JHF) and the Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF), will result in two finalists from the men's and women's competition, advancing to the CAC Games, to be held in Barranquilla, Colombia, in August 2018.
"This is the first time that the PAHF will have a qualifier for CAC Games Hockey," disclosed Fabian Stewart, president of the JHF. "We are pleased that Jamaica has the opportunity to host the qualifying event as field hockey in Jamaica is currently in a redevelopment phase."
He explained that over the past few years, there has been a downturn in the sport of hockey in Jamaica, which has been due to inadequate resources to support the national team and overall local development.
"We are pleased to have the backing of the JN Group as a corporate sponsor as it will boost the confidence of our team members and assist us to realise our goal to gain more exposure for hockey in Jamaica," Stewart stated.
He pointed out that the female hockey team won gold in Central America and Caribbean Hockey in the 1990s, while the men's team was ranked in the top six.
"We are working to return to the top tier in the Pan American Region, which begins with the CAC Qualifiers. One of our goals is to be able to participate in the 2024 Olympics, therefore, we are serious about international matches as well as youth development to achieve those objectives," Stewart said. "We are also working with young players to participate in the Under-17 Youth Olympics in Mexico in 2018."
Jason McNeish, group brand manager at The Jamaica National Group, said that the company welcomed the opportunity to be the financial partner of this event.
COMMITTED TO HONING TALENTS
"At The Jamaica National Group, we have a long history of supporting sports at all levels because we are committed to assist in honing the talents of our athletes," he stated.
There are five participating male teams from Jamaica, Guatemala, Guyana, Panama, and Puerto Rico, as well as six participating female teams from Jamaica, Guatemala, Bermuda, Guyana, Puerto Rico, and Panama.
Christine Bartley, head coach of the senior women's team, is optimistic about a favourable outcome for the women's team.
"I feel fairly confident that the women's team will play to the best of their ability to qualify for the CAC Games. We don't have ideal resources, however, we are doing our best with the players and resources we have," she said.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Nicholas Brown, head coach of the men's team.
"The team members are in good spirits. We do expect to be in the final," he said.
The JHF is a member of the international governing body of hockey, the FÈdÈration International de Hockey; the regional body the Pan American Hockey Federation; and locally, the Jamaica Olympic Association.
- 8:30 a.m: Guyana vs Puerto Rico
- 10:30 a.m: Jamaica vs Panama
- 12:30 p.m: Guyana vs Panama
- 2:30 p.m: Bermuda vs Puerto Rico
- 4:30 p.m: Jamaica vs Puerto Rico