Thu | Feb 20, 2020

More exposure for junior hockey players

Published:Friday | March 9, 2018 | 11:10 PMAkino Ming/Staff Reporter

As a part of his objective to grow the sport and to achieve its main aim to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France, president of the Jamaica Hockey Federation, Fabian Stewart, is currently seeking to expose the under-18 male and female teams to high-level competitions in the United States and Europe to further develop their skills.

The teams are now in Mexico participating in the Youth Pan American Championships, and Stewart is hoping that the exposure will also provide them with opportunities to take up scholarships in United States.

"If you expose them to the high level competitions in Europe and the high level collegiate competition, what you are getting is 25 individuals from which you can build a competitive international team," Stewart said.

"While we are still developing the local game and we are doing that through coaching development and things of that nature, if we are looking down the line and we want to be competitive, then our players must be in that kind of environment in order to land us medals at the various competitions."

To get to the Paris Olympic Games, the Jamaicans will have to finish in the top four out of the 34 nations who will be taking part in the tournament.

"It is by no means an easy task. The top country right now is Trinidad and they are ranked 20th in the world. They are the highest-ranked Caribbean country. It is an immense task but the objective is to start with the youth players. The other aspect is that we gonna work with these youth players to get them into Europe and the US," Stewart said.

Their immediate objective, though, is to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

They will have to finish in the top two of each competition.