Thai women win Asia’s ice hockey championship


A women’s ice hockey team from tropical Thailand defeated rivals from Iran to win the International Ice Hockey Federation’s women’s championship for Asia and Oceania in the final held in Bangkok.

The Thai team downed the Iranian squad by a respectable 3 to 1 margin, but the Thai women dominated the tournament with their explosive offense. Virtually every game was a blowout. The final was the only match in which the Thais scored fewer than 11 goals. Overall, Thailand’s team outscored their opponents 51 to 3 throughout the competition.

This was the second year that the Thai women won the International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) women’s tournament, with their inaugural title coming in 2019. The competition was launched in 2010 and a team from China took the first championship. Thailand hosted this year’s tournament and temperatures outside the arena in Bangkok frequently flirted with 100F.

“The Thai win was impressive and important, while the tournament was, in the bigger picture, indicative of an ever-growing development of the women’s game in the Far East and the evident sense that this growth is only just beginning,” the Federation mentioned on its website.

Other countries that sent teams to the tournament were Singapore, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, India, Kyrgyzstan, and Kuwait. Singapore won the bronze earlier in the day with a 3-1 win over India.

The Thais were coached by Canadian Rory Rawlyk, while the players came from a national women’s league that is also working to promote ice hockey in the Kingdom, which is known for white sand beaches and adventure sports, but is, naturally, not a global power in winter sports.

“Backed by the near-perfect goaltending of Thamida Kunthadapakorn, the key to Thailand’s win in the final game was holding tournament scoring leader, Fatemeh Esmaeili, in check. It was captain Thipwarintorn Yannakornthanapunt who led the way, scoring two goals in the third period to break a 1-1 tie and carry her team to victory,” the IIHF wrote.

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