TWENTY-eight youth hockey players with a senior team, coaches and parents were on the ice within hours of arriving in Punta Arenas, Chile last Saturday.
The inline skaters only had that evening and three more days to convert to ice skates from roller boots before the Copa Invernada ice hockey tournament began.
After some tutelage from manager and organiser Grant Budd and members of the senior team (Penguins) they were ready for their first game, Knights versus Kotaix on Wednesday morning.
An exciting match, which was also watched online by Falklands supporters around the globe, ended 5-4 to Kotaix, but was proof that lack of an ice rink in the Falklands wasn’t going to hold the Islanders’ back. All four goals were scored by Matt Francis and the team was completed by Goalie Karla Aguilera, Isadora Acevedo, Theo Duncan, and Gabriella and James Hartley (man of the match).
In the second game on Wednesday Falklands team Bombers lost 9-5 to local school team Manuel Bulnes. There were great goals from both sides, with Bombers goals scored by Richie Short (1) Josef Murphy (man of the match - 3 goals) and Kathy Aguilera (1). The rest of the hard working team comprised Megan Short, Erin Murphy and Tom Watson.
The senior team, the Penguins, gave their supporters at the Pista de Patinaje Cool Center, a fantastic treat on Wednesday displaying cracking skill and endeavour against the Ushuaia team. Penguins won 10-2 with goals from Michaela Bahl (4) husband Ryan (2) Craig Dockrill (3) and young Marco Leyton (1) who like the youth team members had only three days experience on ice. Claudio ‘Cleggs’ Ross also had his tournament debut. Other team players were Jonathan Nicholson, Stu Duncan, Ruben Torres, Antoine Daille and Grant Budd.
On Thursday morning the Dragons, captained by Regan Newman, faced Manuel Bulnes school with team Danny Ross, Cary Davis, Luke Gilbert, Keon Kennedy and Dean Ellis. The final score was 4-1 to the Chilean team. Dean Ellis was man of the match for his great goal keeping, and Falklands’ goals were scored by Danny Ross.
Two Falklands teams then faced each other; Wolverines and Knights. It was a hard fought close game finishing 4-3 to Wolverines in extra time. Malachi Budd only took 17 seconds of that time to score the goal and end the match. Wolverines’ team was Tom Watson, Travis Jaffray, Lane McKay, Molly Roberts, Jake Hawksworth, Ella Clement, Vaughn McGill and Malachi Budd, and Knights were as the day before.
Lane Mckay (1) and Malachi ‘The Fridge’ Budd (3) scored for Wolverines, and Matt Francis (2) and Theo Duncan (1) for Knights. Tom and Theo got man of the match for their teams.
Today (Friday) Wolverines were pencilled in to play Kotaix and Dragons versus Bombers. The semi-final and final games will take place on Saturday and Sunday.