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Challenger Series Chicago proves to be a rousing success, as the competition pivots to the second stanza in New York.

April 22, 2024

By Michael Rosado

Photo Credit: Katelynn Reiss

Chicago, IL

Challenger Series- Chicago '24, where unknowns emerge and favorites are put to the test! Jamaica, despite being the prohibitive favorite, faced tough competition from the start. Coming into the series with only two losses in their history, (both at the hands of Puerto Rico) were determined to show their dominance on the ice. Puerto Rico was out to prove that their 2-1 series triumph over Jamaica in the original Challenger Series this past summer was no fluke. And Lebanon was the unknown of the competition and were eager to make a name for themselves and prove they belonged amongst the best the Caribbean has to offer.

The series kicked off with Lebanon stunning the crowd with a commanding 11-6 victory over Jamaica, showcasing their offensive prowess and putting the favorites on notice. However, Jamaica remained confident, knowing they had the skill and experience to bounce back. As the series unfolded, Puerto Rico- In a closely contested matchup, edged out Lebanon with a narrow 3-2 win, highlighting their depth and grit in their victory. For Lebanon, despite the loss, showed they were not to be underestimated. Early on Puerto Rico continued their strong showing, but were defeated by the Jamaican Buffalo Soldiers in a thrilling 6-3 contest, as the favorites started to hit their stride in the competition.

Jamaica then faced off against Lebanon once again, this time in a nail-biting 7-6 showdown. Jamaica fought hard against a confident Lebanon squad, and even though Lebanon lost the second match between these two nations they further solidified Lebanon's status as a rising force in the competition. In another crucial matchup, Puerto Rico went on to secure a narrow 4-3 victory over Lebanon, showcasing their ability to perform under pressure and setting the stage for an exciting conclusion to the Chicago leg which concluded with Jamaica facing off against Puerto Rico in a highly anticipated clash. In a game filled with tension and excitement, Jamaica emerged victorious with a narrow 5-4 win, reclaiming their status as the team to beat in the Challenger Series.

On the Womens side Lebanon cruised to a 3-0 record over Puerto Rico. The Lebanese side was efficient and disciplined in their attention to detail as they rolled the entire weekend, becoming sharper with every victory. The Boricuas, though a bit depleted- fought valiantly and put forth an effort worthy of the Island's Taino fighting spirit. In defeat they made Puerto Rico proud and the island is eager to see The Bori' women bounce back in New York where they will surely garner great support from the island's northeast diaspora.

As the action shifts to New York for the next group of games in June, the competition is sure to heat up even more. Will the Lebanese ladies continue to roll? Will Jamaica continue their dominance, or will Lebanon and Puerto Rico rise to the occasion once again?

Don't miss your chance to witness the excitement and drama of the Challenger Series as it pivots to New York in June. Be sure to follow PRIHA on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for the latest news.

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