The Philippine Star, 23 September 2015 – After three years of trying, the Philippine ice hockey team finally ruled the peewee division of the Malaysia Invitational Ice Hockey tournament last Sept. 11 in Kuala Lumpur. The Philippine team made up of players aged 13 years and below surprised teams from Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia to bring home the gold medal.
As an icing on the cake, 13 year old Carlo Angelo Tigaronita was named Best Forward. In ice hockey, It’s equivalent to being named MVP. “We’re all very happy with the result” said Tigaronita during yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s Mafate. Also gracing the forum were Christopher Sy, president of the Federation of Hockey League in the Philippines; Carl Montano, head coach of the Philippine team; CJ Suarez, former bowling World Cup champion and now head of the SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc. sports; And Stephanie Henares, SMLEI public relations and advertising manager.
Last week, the Philippines also ruled the men’s division in the Hong Kong Amateur Hockey Club Invitational Ice Hockey tournament. “We are proud of these achievements and we’re looking forward to more victories,” said Sy, who has bigger plans for the sport of hockey in the country. “We have a vision and a mission. We want to push this sport forward,” he added. Among the plans are the staging of more ice hockey tournaments in the country and joining more international events. They also plan to bring in foreign coaches from Canada to share their expertise with their Filipino counterparts. Suarez said the twin victories should serve as a big boost for the development of Ice hockey in the country.
The local federation is also seeking recognition from the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission, and eventually the International Hockey League. “The growth of hockey wasn’t as promising then as it is now. There’s more interest now and we have more fans now. It looks promising,” said Montano, a Filipino Canadian who also plays the sport. “Ice hockey is a unique sport where Filipinos can excel. Filipinos may lack in size but they can easily make up for it with speed,” he said.
The SM Group headed by Hans Sy is throwing its full support on the development of ice and figure skating, ice hockey and eventually speed skating. In November, SMLEI will stage the Philippine Ice Hockey tournament at SM Mall of Asia and close to 60 teams are expected to participate. “We are trying to create more awareness for ice hockey in our country. We want the sport to be recognized, the goal is to bulla more players and build the team,” said Henares. “We want a bigger platform for the sport and hope to have stronger teams for International competitions,” she said, noting the inclusion of ice skating and figure skating in the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia.