Jamaica, Qatar latest countries to join International Ice Hockey Federation

As we saw in 'Cool Runnings,' ice and Jamaica aren't exactly peanut butter and jelly. (Wallshq.com)

Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, come on Jamaica, it's hockey time!

That's right, hockey is coming to Jamaica just the same way that bobsledding once did. The Caribbean nation is being joined by another very unlikely hockey country in Qatar to become the 71st and 72nd members of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Jamaica becomes the first Caribbean country to join the IIHF. Surprising, I know. As of yet, the development is small -- very, very small.

The Jamaican Olympic Ice Hockey Federation was founded last winter. The Caribbean country has one ice rink and currently 20 players but aims to grow the game and fulfill the criteria to participate in IIHF tournaments in the future.

And the dream is to once participate at the Olympics like the Jamaican bobsled team in Calgary 1988 that became famous in the film “Cool Runnings”.

It sure seems like the Olympics would be a lot further off than 2018 for Jamaica. They have exactly enough players in their country to fill one NHL roster, sans reserves.

I'm wondering if the low turnout isn't a result of an organizer showing a house full of potential players what ice hockey actually looks like. "In hockey your bones don't break, they shatter." I miss John Candy.

Playing the equivalents of Derice Bannock and Sanka Coffie would likely be brothers Anthony Stewart of the Hurricanes and Chris Stewart of the Blues. Their mother moved to Canada from Jamaica in 1974, and they have played for the Canadian national team, but perhaps they could change their national affiliation to Jamaica if they so choose.

It might be tougher to find their Yul Brenner, the big tough guy who would undoubtedly be in the enforcer-esque role, if fighting were allowed in the IIHF. I would say that could be Andre Deveaux, but he's from elsewhere in the Caribbean, the Bahamas. Close, not close enough.

Then there is Qatar, the incredibly wealthy Persian Gulf country. They have a better beginning than the Jamaicans, it would appear. They could make three whole NHL teams.

The country of less than two million inhabitants has two ice rinks, both located in the capital of Doha: the Villagio Ice Rink in the Aspire Zone and the City Center Ice Rink at West Bay.

The national league, which kicked off in the 2010/2011 season, includes five teams and 70 players are affiliated with the Qatar Ice Hockey Federation. As well, there’s an ice hockey school with more than 100 registered participants.

Freezing temperatures and snow aren't that foreign to the people of Qatar. Well, they are, but it's not like they can't see them in the region. In the biggest mall in the world outside of North America sits an indoor ski slope. That's right, you can go skiing any time of the year by going to Dubai. It's pretty amazing, really.

Obviously, neither country is going to step in and immediately challenge the Canadians, Russians, Swedes, Finns and Americans, among others, for hockey supremacy. But hey, if India can win an international match, why can't Jamaica or Qatar?

H/t to Puck Daddy

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