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International players hail Jamaican hospitality at Hockey5s

Published:Friday | June 9, 2023 | 1:20 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Eddie Rios Fuentes of Puerto Rico.
Eddie Rios Fuentes of Puerto Rico.

As the Hockey5s Pan American Cup enters its final weekend, international players have been grateful for the hospitality that Jamaica has shown them as first-time hosts. Jamaica were awarded hosting duties, with Jamaica Hockey Federation president...

As the Hockey5s Pan American Cup enters its final weekend, international players have been grateful for the hospitality that Jamaica has shown them as first-time hosts.

Jamaica were awarded hosting duties, with Jamaica Hockey Federation president Fabian Stewart hoping that this will provide a platform for their long-term goals.

With some of the strong teams in the region participating, international players have been enjoying the experience so far during the tournament. Uruguay women’s player Camila Piazza while acknowledging the change in weather conditions, has been impressed with the spirit shown by the Jamaican supporters at the Mona Hockey Field.

“It is too hot. A lot of humidity, but it has been amazing. The spirit has been great, and Jamaicans are very joyful and funny. And we are having a great time,” Piazza told The Gleaner. The Uruguayians are among the top-ranked teams in the tournament.

Puerto Rico men’s player Eddie Fuentes was also complimentary of his experience so far, saying that if Jamaica should be chosen again for future tournaments, he would have no problems making the trip.

“Jamaica has treated us so well. We have been eating well. And we have been having good times on the field. And the tournament is going well so far. So I am grateful for all of this,” Fuentes said. “I’m happy to go wherever hockey goes. So I will be here for it if it comes to that,” Fuentes added.

United States women’s player Lora Clarke shares Piazza’s sentiment of what the shared camaraderie among Jamaican fans has meant, especially to her.

“They got a bunch of locals to start chanting my name when I got a challenge. I love the camaraderie within Jamaica and to watch everyone come out and support their country, even just singing their National Anthem and wearing their flag with pride. It’s really cool to see,” Clarke said.

For the Jamaican women, they were defeated in yesterday’s crossover round match-up 3-0 by the United States thanks to a brace from Linnea Gonzales. However, they bounced back to capture their first win of the tournament, defeating Guatemala 1-0, with the lone goal coming from Sauwana Gordon. It is a result that sees them play the fifth- and sixth-place game tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Jamaican men will begin their crossover round this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. when they face Guatemala, who finished third in their group. Jamaica bounced back with two straight wins after losing their opener to the United States.