Federation of Ice Hockey League (FIHL) president Christopher Sy sets the bar higher after the national ice hockey team bagged the gold medal in the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEA) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
And with this feat, Sy said their next target is to qualify for the World Championships.
“Our aim is to go to the World Championships. That’s the goal. And once we are in the World Championships, that’s going to be a different dimension again,” said Sy in a news conference on Thursday at the SM Megamall Ice Skating rink in Mandaluyong City.
The squad completed one of the most remarkable performances of Filipino athletes in the biennial meet, becoming the first winner of the ice hockey event in the competition by beating Thailand, 5-4, in the finals.
And with this achievement, Sy said there’s no other way for the team but to go up.
“Hopefully we can go there in five years. But my target is three years. If we get that goal within three years much better,” Sy added.
For the nationals to reach the world stage, they must generate enough points by joining regional and international competitions such as the SEA Games and Asian Winter Games, among others.
Meanwhile, the top ice hockey official hopes that the team’s recent success will generate interest in the sport among Filipino youth.
“It will take time but the interest is there. It’s fun and fast sports. Hopefully, we will spread this out to schools, initially, through the form of field hockey,” he said.
The FIHL is also planning to put up minor ice hockey leagues in the country to discover fresh talents for the national team.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID