Indoor Hockey, the journey begins

March 4, 2024

Indoor Hockey, the journey begins

The speed, dynamism, rules, goals, skills, endless spins, plays off the boards, impossible saves that no one perceives except the goalkeeper under the three posts - everything is flashy. The competition of the most magnetic variant of this sport begins: from March 19 to 22, the Indoor Pan American  Cups will be played in Canada. A tournament that will send the best of America to compete against the world powers.

While the most competitive teams, those occupying the majority of the top spots in the international rankings, are in Europe, the Pan American Federation managed to carve out a small place in the Top 10 through hard work and training. In the women's division, the United States is the only team from this continent to have earned a spot in the elite and is ranked 8th. Canada wants to join soon as it is ranked 11th. Meanwhile, in the men's division, there are two teams: the American counterparts in the same position as their female teammates after finishing 4th in the 2023 Pretoria World Cup, and also the Argentinians, ranked 10th, the reigning Pan American champions who achieved a historic 7th place in South Africa.

From March 19, the qualification for the next World Cups, which will be in 2025, will be at stake. Based on the positions of the Pan American teams in the rankings, two spots will be granted for the men (those reaching the final), and only one for the women champions.

With a Round Robin format, everyone against everyone, the ball will start rolling in Calgary. The men's teams in the Canadian city are: the hosts, Argentina, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States. On the women's side, Uruguay, Argentina, the United States - the reigning champions - and the hostesses. The teams finishing in better positions will cross paths with the 4th-placed teams in each division, and the second-placed teams will face the third-placed ones. The winners of those matches will reach the final.

The history of this competition does not show absolute hegemonies. And that's what makes the tournament interesting. If we go back to 2014, the Pan American Cup held in Montevideo was won by the two Canadian teams. In 2017, Guyana's capital witnessed Trinidad and Tobago's men's gold and the United States' women's title. The last edition, held in 2021, saw the women's double championship, but also enjoyed watching how the Argentinians qualified for the World Cup for the first time with the gold they obtained.

Juan Eleicegui, captain of "Los Leones"  shared what it means for him and for the  blue and white team to return to the tournament where they won gold in 2021: "It's very important for us, we defend every player in our country who strives every day to wear the colors of this shirt. We want to go to our second World Cup and do even better. This is our dream, and we will defend it," he explained.

Those who will also seek to climb to the top of the podium again are the women of the United States who also want to write an important and unique chapter in the history of this sport: achieving the third consecutive title. Abby Burnett will wear the captain's armband and spoke about it: "Personally, it's an honor for me to have the opportunity to wear the shield of the United States and compete at the highest level. The team wants to continue the legacy left by previous teams and earn a place in the next World Cup. We are ready to defend our title with a group that features very talented teams," concluded the player who was also part of the squad that competed in the recent Hockey 5 championship in Oman.

Nothing is missing. The ball will roll again on this continent to reach the ultimate goal: the 2025 World Cup of this variant that doesn't allow you to blink.

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