The Egypt Ice Hockey Experience 2021 is about to introduce world class hockey to Cairo, but more importantly, it's here to prove Egypt has what it takes to establish its own winter sports federation.
You read that headline right - we will soon see the first major international ice hockey tournament to ever take place in Egypt. Held by Egypt's Ministry of Youth & Sports, the Egyptian National Olympic Committee and Canada's Friendship League, and co-organised by International Business & Investment Services (IBIS), the Egypt Ice Hockey Experience 2021 is introducing world class hockey to Cairo from October 24th to October 26th.
"For the first time in Egypt's history, we're going to see a major international winter sports event here," Nancy Abdelhadi, CEO and Co-Founder of IBIS, tells CairoScene. "We're very excited to see ice hockey enthusiasts from countries like Canada, the US, the UK, Germany and Finland to actually come here and play against Egypt's ice hockey team."
Although they're not an official national team, Egypt Ice Hockey is a local team that has been playing in international events since 2016, sliding their way through Canada, the US, Morocco, Kuwait and the UAE. They're on a mission to establish an official winter sports federation in Egypt, no matter what, and their work as one of the organisers of the Egypt Ice Hockey Experience is testament to that.
Yeah, so it's hot here, and yeah, we're in the desert, but when has anything like that stopped us before? Events just like the Egypt Ice Hockey Experience have been held through the Friendship League in nations like Turkey, Kenya and Costa Rica. And while the competition is focused on hockey, the entire event is a celebration of the potential of winter sports in Egypt, in line with Egypt Ice Hockey's ambitions alongside co-organisers Egypt Winter Sports, a community that looks to elevate Egyptian winter athletes of all sorts. They will be sending local Olympic hopefuls skier Ahmed Fayed and snowboarder Khaled El Shebokshy to the tournament to show their support for an official winter sports federation.
"Although we've been going on 20 years since we've started playing hockey in Egypt, we still haven't reached the point where we have a national team or a federation," Abdelhadi explains. "But after getting recognition from the Egyptian National Olympic Committee, which gave us the ability to register through the International Ski Federation, and with hockey and curling in the process, we've been able to start preparing and training for bigger international events. It's a step closer to having our athletes raise the Egyptian flag at the Winter Olympics."