MEXICO CITY – The first year of the new semi-professional Mexican Elite League (LME) ended this month with the Teotihuacan Priests as the inaugural champions.
The league was founded one year ago with teams playing in several rinks in the Mexico City region using traditional Mexican names for their clubs. Mexico’s best players were then distributed following a player draft, and it is planned to allow import players at some point for the future development of the league.
The Mayan Astronomers were the other team in the best-of-three final series, but the planets were not in alignment for them.
The Priests started with a whopping 5-0 blanking in Game 1, but a hard-fought second match ended with a 5-4 win for the Astronomers.
Another narrow game followed, but this time with the better end for the Priests. Adrian Bazbaz opened the scoring for the Priests at 13:22 of the first period, but shortly thereafter Ruben Cuevas tied up the game.
Rodrigo Meza scored the game-winner at 6:18 of the second period, as the Priests won 2-1.
The other teams participating in the league were the Aztec Eagle Warriors and Zapotec Totem.
“The Mexican Elite League is a dream come true that contributes to the professionalization and growth of ice hockey in our country,” said Joaquin de la Garma, President of the Mexican Ice Hockey Federation, after the Mexican Elite League’s first year.
The new season will start in October and will likely include an additional team.
Mexico lists 1,073 ice hockey players in their country. The national team is currently ranked 33rd out of 48 countries in the 2011 IIHF World Ranking. Mexico joined the IIHF World Championship program in 2000 and has played its way up to a stable Division II nation.