New season in Asia ahead
by IIHF|05 SEP 2019
The Philippines hosted the ASPG Meeting and will host several international ice hockey tournaments this year. Singapore in white will host the men’s IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia.
photo: David Jong
The Asia Strategic Planning Group (ASPG) met in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, for the 24th ASPG Meeting to exchange views and build plans for the development of Asian Hockey but also to plan the upcoming tournament season. The host, Hockey Philippines, extended their warm hospitality to over 30 delegates and guests attending the meeting.

Among the 76 IIHF Members, 22 are from Asia and two from the Oceania. Though most of the ASPG members are relatively new to the sport of ice hockey, with their determination and extra effort, 16 of them have overcome various hurdles to make their way into the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Program. IIHF Vice President and ASPG Chairman Thomas Wu said: “This is an achievement shared by every hard-working ASPG member as well as the whole hockey family, as the IIHF and other strong hockey nations have been most supportive to the growth of hockey in Asia.”

Challenge Cup of Asia starts in February

One tool to get ready for the World Championship level has been the IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia program where the smaller hockey programs can meet and play each other in various categories. The event is designed for countries that have not met the requirements yet to enter the World Championship program – although this number has become lower recently.

Six men’s teams will compete in the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia in the new season with Mongolia, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Macau and India. The tournament will be hosted by Singapore from 27 April to 1 May 2020.

More countries are involved in the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 Challenge Cup of Asia that will be organized in two tournaments with both taking place 10-16 February 2020 in Bangkok. The top division includes Malaysia, the Philippines, host Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Mongolia. The other teams – Indonesia, Kuwait, India, Singapore and Macau – will compete in the Division I event. The latter three teams are new entries into the U20 category.

Manila will be back in focus of the Asian IIHF members when the Philippines will host the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia between 24 and 28 February 2020. The eight teams will play in two separate divisions with Thailand, Singapore, a New Zealand junior team and host Philippines competing in the top division. The Division I tournament includes Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, India and Kuwait.

Click here for an overview of the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia program.

The Philippines will also be the host of the 30th Southeast Asian Games from 30 November to 11 December 2019 that for the second consecutive time will include ice hockey. More details on this event will follow.

Workshops held in Manila

The Asian IIHF members did of course not only meet to prepare for the tournaments but used the opportunity to advance off the ice as well.

With the increasing number of ASPG members, workshops on transfers, eligibility and code of conduct were held by Ashley Ehlert, Legal Director, and Simona Richiger, Compliance Officer, in conjunction with the 24th ASPG Meeting. Feedback from the delegates attending the workshops were most encouraging and positive as they found themselves better equipped to manage the daily operation of their national associations and their teams.

Meanwhile the collaboration between the ASPG with various IIHF Committees and other strong hockey nations have been strengthening as the potential of Asian ice hockey is well recognized.

Anders Larsson, President of Swedish Ice Hockey Association, and Martin Lundby were among the guests who joined the ASPG Meeting to generously share their expertise, experience and advice with the Asian membership. The Swedish speakers also highlighted their experience in working with Hong Kong on a collaboration between the countries. A pilot project started one year ago, which proved to be not only a success in growing the game in Hong Kong, but also an inspiration to the Swedish Ice Hockey Association.

Among the various areas for development for Asian hockey, the areas of coaching, youth development, officiating, facilities and ice rink management are ranked with the highest priority.

“The ASPG will continue to build ties with other members of the hockey family to make sure we move forward together with the IIHF,” Thomas Wu added.
ASPG Members gathered in Manila to chart plans for the development of Asian ice hockey.