Hockey, a sport with deep traditions in countries like Argentina, boasting over a century of practice, has been finding its place in new territories. One of these territories is Guatemala, a Central American nation that has witnessed remarkable growth in this discipline in recent years. Despite not having an official Hockey 11 field, Guatemala has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the sport and has found creative ways to adapt and flourish. In this article, we will explore the exciting development of hockey in Guatemala and how it has become a sport that spans all ages and genders.
A Regional Champion
Guatemala has made its presence known in the world of hockey by becoming the champion of the Central America Development Tournament in the Hockey 5s, an impressive achievement made possible with the financial support of the Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF). For over a decade, the country has led the way in the development of this sport in the Central American region, laying the foundation for a bright future.
In addition to focusing on the growth of its teams, Guatemala has also invested in the training of umpires and judges, ensuring integrity and fair play in its competitions throughout the year. This investment in the quality of officials is essential for the sustainable development of hockey in the region.
24 Centers for Hockey Development
One of the pillars of Guatemalan hockey's success is its commitment to youth. The country boasts 24 youth and junior centers dedicated to the sport's development, located in schools and public recreational centers. These centers offer young people aged 5 to 40 the opportunity to discover and fall in love with hockey, regardless of their gender.
Events for All Ages and for both genders
The scheduling of sporting events is a crucial aspect of hockey's growth in Guatemala. Throughout the year, the country organizes a series of competitions that cater to all ages and genders. Some of the standout events include:
Youth and Junior Festivals (March 12, 2023): An event that brought together 77 players of both genders in Guatemala's zone 6, with the participation of 4 umpires and 4 judges to ensure fair and clean play.
National Youth Men and Women Field Hockey Championship (November 2, 26, and December 10, 2023): A competition involving 7 teams in each category, with a total of 10 players per team and a projection of having 10 umpires and 9 judges.
National Youth Men and Women Field Hockey Championship (April 22, May 20, and 27, 2023): An event that brought together 155 players in an exciting Field Hockey competition, with 7 umpires and 7 judges ensuring high-quality play.
National Men and Women Field Hockey Championship (July 16, August 13, and 26, 2023): This championship is played in the Hockey 5s format and featured the participation of 162 players, supported by 7 umpires and 7 judges.
National Sports Games of Hockey (October 14, 15, and 21, 2023): In this event, teams that qualify from the National Men and Women Field Hockey Championship compete in the Hockey 5s format. This is a significant tournament that showcases Guatemala's commitment to the sport and includes 8 umpires and 7 judges to ensure fair competition.
4th National Hockey League of Guatemala (February to October 2023): The senior category, comprising players aged 18 and above, participates in this exciting 9 vs. 9 league. Despite the category, most players fall within the age range of 16 to 35 years. With 216 players in the competition, the projection is to have 10 umpires and 10 judges to maintain order on the field.
The growth of hockey in Guatemala is a testament to the sportsmanship and dedication of the country's hockey community. Despite challenges, such as the absence of an official Hockey 11 field, Guatemala has demonstrated its ability to adapt and thrive in other formats. With a strong foundation in youth development and an active schedule of competitions, the future of hockey in Guatemala looks promising, and its commitment to the sport continues to rise.