The Puerto Rico Ice Hockey Association has accomplished some amazing goals in a short time among them becoming the 83rd member of the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation), the FPAI (Federation of Winter Athletics) and has become a member of the Puerto Rico Winter Olympic committee. A goal set was to foster and promote the sport of hockey in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, while representing Puerto Rico at the highest level possible on the international stage.
While hosting events in Florida and Chicago, and most recently in New York, the association has grown its members. PRIHA has won multiple championships at different levels, including the men’s national team, women’s national team and men’s U20. This spring our organization hosted an event aptly named Fiesta de Hockey where PR hockey players from across the diaspora descended on Chicago and New York. The players ran through a combination of practices and team building events eventually facing off against tough competition from the Midwest and northeast.
Our involvement started just under two years ago and had us traveling to Florida with 3 generations of Corcino’s. My father, my son and I had an amazing experience which has paved the way for our involvement with PRIHA. This has lead us on an unforgettable journey traveling to Florida and Chicago twice and recently New York where we marched in the Puerto Rican Day Parade for the second time.
When our teams gather together it has a family reunion vibe to it. My son Michael and I have been fortunate and full of pride to wear the Puerto Rico jersey a few times now and I have had the honor of coaching our youth program. Being able to play with that team has been a dream I couldn’t have imagined. With my son being part of the youth team, it reinforces parental pride in seeing my son represent Puerto Rico and our culture. When our teams get together there is so much pride on display, the atmosphere is electric with Latin music and PR flags being waved everywhere. The best part is watching any and all of our teams play and seeing other team members cheering them on.
There is much support throughout our program for all of our teams. There is a sense of belonging and sincere optimism for the future of our great sport in Puerto Rico. Taking the ice to represent our culture is a feeling like no other and I feel a great sense of responsibility with coaching our youth teams knowing that one day these kids will represent our island nation against the best the world has to offer in the sport of hockey and the Winter Olympic Games! As we say here in PRIHA… ¡LO QUE SEA NECESARIO!