By Mark Manez
MANILA—The Philippines will get to witness intense Ice Hockey action as they host the 2018 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia at the SM Mall of Asia Ice Skating Rink starting April 3.
“We are very proud and excited to host, for the first time, the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia which has been held in different countries since it was founded in 2008,” said Chris Sy, Federation of Ice Hockey Philippines president during the press conference.
This will also be the country’s debut in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)-sanctioned tournament, which attracted 5 neighbouring Asian nations, all slugging out for pride and honor on ice.
“We are honored to be a part of this wonderful opportunity to host the first official IIHF event in the country. This shows how the Philippines can truly be at par with its Asian neighbors not only in terms of the quality of its sports programs and athletes, but also in the quality of its sports facilities,” said Herman Medina-Cue, COO of SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc., the only company in the Philippines to carry Olympic size ice rinks.
Riding on a successful debut in last year’s appearance at the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the hosts will definitely get their hands full in claiming their first Asian title.
They will be taking on Thailand on opening night (April 3), Kuwait (April 5), Mongolia (April 6), and Singapore (April 8). All games involving the Philippines are scheduled at 7 p.m.
During the Challenge Cup, the Olympic-size ice skating rink at the SM Mall of Asia will be the battleground of the competing ice hockey teams.
It is equipped with complete facilities such as a digital scoreboard, players’ boxes, scorekeeper and penalty boxes, locker rooms, and a 200-seater stands located around the rink.