A sweltering Pattaya played hosts to the budding stars of the ice earlier this month as the second annual Beach Bash Youth Ice Hockey tournament was held from December 5 to 9 at the Harbor Mall ice rink.
A total of 28 teams featuring players from all over Asia congregated to do battle on the ice, some of the combatants being as young as six years old. The 2018 tournament was well received as the number of teams almost doubled from the 17 teams in 2017.
The popularity of Ice Hockey in Thailand has increased considerably in the past 12 months due to the increasing number of tournaments organized in the kingdom, with Asia Ice Events supported by The Rink, JOGS and Powerplay Sports & Entertainment leading the way. They founded the Beach Bash and the past tournament in Bangkok called Tropical Freeze. They are also involved with a couple of well-established events such as the annual Land of Smiles and City of Angles tournaments, both held in Bangkok. Asia Ice Events has also indicated that there will be at least four youth tournaments and a number of hockey camps planned for Thailand in 2019.
Beach Bash Tournament Director Keith Fong commented: “Our main goal is not only to organize professional events but to help develop the game of ice hockey amongst the youth. In addition to provide them opportunities to learn, play and meet new friends, it also gives them an opportunity to see where they stand in terms of results and development when compared to other hockey clubs.”
The Pattaya tournament had several highlights including the addition of the under-6 division which featured two teams from Hong Kong in the final. The HK Selects defeated the HK Junior Tigers 6-5 in a thrilling game. The HK Selects also captured the championship in the under-8 division by defeating the Grizzly Bears team from Thailand. The Bangkok Warriors won the gold medal games in the under-12 and 14 divisions. After the finals, the players participated in the a skills competition which featured three events – the fastest skater, puck control relay and a breakaway contest.
Throughout the tournament, the atmosphere at the rink was amazing with far more cheers than tears. At the end, and after four days on frozen water, it was time for the players and their families to hit the beach and soak up what Pattaya and Thailand can offer best – the sun.