Oman starts women’s hockey
by Martin Merk|16 OCT 2021
Women’s hockey players in Oman pose in front of a poster.
The Ice Skating Center at the Funzone entertainment center in Qurum, a suburb of the capital Muscat, was the venue for Oman’s first participation in the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend. On Friday the Gulf country thus became the newest to take part in the global initiative held annually in October to promote ice hockey for girls and women.

Oman was one of over 25 countries to take part in the program that is back after a one-year pandemic-induced break. With indoor team sports restricted in many Asian countries due to Covid-19, Oman was the only country from the continent this year.

“It was a little event with the hockey team. We had the Learn To Play girls with us and the parents joined us as well. We had little games, we had cake. The boys’ team also helped us and did pictures,” said Dalal Ambusaidi, who was on-site both as organizer and player.
Medal ceremony for the pioneers in Omani women's hockey.
Ambusaidi, who outside of hockey studies at the University of Technology and Applied Science, is among the pioneering women in Omani ice hockey. Last week a small championship was held with 15 female players.

“We have one practice per week and will soon go to two practices. We are in the beginning of our training and hope to soon have the chance to compete with other teams,” she said.
Participants pose for a creative photo after the World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend event in Oman.
The Sultanate of Oman has been an IIHF member since 2014 and its men’s national team has participated in the IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia. Having women joining the small but dedicated ice hockey family in Muscat is new.

With the World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend the number of female players in the system has grown to 17 and three more players who couldn’t make it may join soon. That would be 20 female players as well as around 80 male players in the country.

One challenge both for the women and men is that only one rink is available in the country and it’s not full size. Friday will continue to be the big day for Ambusaidi and her teammates.
After the hard work on the ice a cake awaits the players.
“We have our practices on Friday morning and after our training we have the Learn To Play program to teach kids to start skating and play hockey. We have 30 kids. And on Saturday we have the future generation program where we teach skating,” she said.

Her hope and dream is that one day the program will be big enough to form a women’s national team that could also compete internationally in the Challenge Cup of Asia as the men did in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

“We haven’t started competing with other teams yet. But soon, inshallah [if God wills], we will reach that stage and be there,” Ambusaidi said.

Click here to access the tracker with more stories from the World Girls' Ice Hockey Weekend.