Jamaica wins LATAM Cup to bolster Olympic hockey dreams

Jamaica might just turn into a hockey powerhouse. (Photo via @LoopJamaica/Twitter)
Jamaica might just turn into a hockey powerhouse. (Photo via @LoopJamaica/Twitter)

The Jamaican national bobsleigh team stole everyone’s hearts after the hit 1993 movie Cool Runnings, and now the country is dreaming of making some noise in another Winter Olympic sport.

Jamaica captured the Amerigol LATAM Cup on Sunday, knocking off defending champions Colombia in a shootout. The team was made up of players of Jamaican descent who live and play hockey in Canada and other countries around the world.

"It feels unbelievable, we just made history," Jamaica forward Jaden Lindo said to NHL.com’s William Douglas. "This is something that Jamaica is never going to forget."

The LATAM Cup is a three-day competition between Latin American countries played at the Florida Panthers’ practice facility. This year marked the second annual tournament and creates an opportunity to expand the game to non-traditional markets.

"If you want the game to grow, if you want the Latins to follow and the Hispanics to be behind the NHL in 20 years, you got to have more 'Hernandez,' 'Fernandez' and 'Gomez' on the back of jerseys that they can follow," tournament founder Juan Carlos Otero told NHL.com. "Everything that hockey has and is — the action, the speed, the dedication — that's part of the DNA of the Latin community. It's a definite fit with the Latin community."

Jamaica’s goal for the tournament was to show that a national hockey program with Olympic aspirations is worthy of financial and fan support. There’s still a ways to go before that happens, but this performance is already opening some eyes. Local news outlet the Jamaica Observer has featured multiple articles about the team.

If the momentum keeps rolling, Cool Skatings might be coming to theatres in the near future.

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