UAE ice hockey to present a ‘high-class event’ to local fans at President’s Cup
ABU DHABI // Juma Al Dhaheri said competing against international sides in the President’s Cup ice hockey tournament starting on Tuesday will be of huge benefit to the UAE’s local sides.
The tournament, with a prize fund of US$25,000 (Dh91,800), uns until Friday at the Abu Dhabi Ice Rink, and sees three local sides going up against three overseas sides. Representing the UAE are Al Dhaheri’s Abu Dhabi Storms, the Dubai Mighty Camels and the White Bears, a team comprising of expatriate Russian players who currently sit second in the Emirates Hockey League table behind the Camels.
They will be up against German side Torpedo, Prague from the Czech Republic and the Belarus President’s team.
“It is a strong competition and all the local teams have strengthened their squad with foreign imports for this tournament,” said Al Dhaheri, whose team’s foreign professional contingent comprises Finnish forward Joni Toykkala and his compatriot Villa Parkkukuneu, Mika Hannula from Sweden and the Dane Lucas Willumsen.
“The objective of this tournament is to present the local fans a high-class event and at the same time for the local players to benefit from the experience.
“It is only the second staging of this competition and we hope it will grow from strength to strength every passing year.”
The teams will all face each other with the top four in the standings progressing to the semi-finals.
The winners of the two semi-finals will meet in the championship game while the two losing sides will face off in aplay-off for third place.
Mohammed Aref Al Jachi, Abu Dhabi Ice Sports Club’s director of sports and a member of the organising committee, said the Storms will field two Emirati goalkeepers to help them gain experience ahead of the IIHF Asian Challenge Cup in March.
“We not only want to win the title but provide maximum exposure to our players, particularly to our goalkeepers,” said Al Jachi, who is also a defender on the UAE national team. “These games will be a good test of the two goalkeepers and their development, particularly with the Asia Cup in mind.”
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