March 2023 Newsletter
This month’s newsletter will take a new form. It will feature brief comments from PRIHA leaders, along with association news and member spotlights. It will be available for all to view on https://www.puertoricoicehockey.com.
Hopefully you find this useful and informative. Thank you for taking the time to read,
Ryan Tantalo, Media and Brand Committee Member
Message from President Scott Vargas:
The association is moving full force toward the Chicago Fiesta De Hockey in April. PRIHA expects upwards of 100 athlete members to participate. The event will feature activities for players of all skill levels to take the ice and represent Puerto Rico.
Chicago Fiesta De Hockey info: https://www.puertoricoicehockey.com/eventregistration
The event will balance the need to create a competitive on-ice product with the goal of fostering an inclusive community focused on building the association’s collective culture. The goal is for every member to feel invested in representing Puerto Rico at the highest level in and out of competition.
The Chicago event also features national team tryouts, which will shape the roster of PRIHA’s top competitive squads moving forward. However, no spot is guaranteed and there will always be opportunities for players to earn a spot in the lineup. The association is placing a heavy emphasis on player preparation and strongly recommends using the GVN Performance platform to guide fitness training.
PRIHA is incredibly excited for the inaugural Fiesta De Hockey. We hope to learn from this experience and build momentum for the association moving forward. Thanks to everyone throughout the association — and the community partners — for putting this event together!
Message from Events Committee Co-Chair Frank Keane:
Like the rest of the association, the Events Committee is fully focused on organizing the Chicago Fiesta De Hockey. PRIHA joined forces with community partners in the Chicago area — as well as PRIHA members — to make the event a success.
PRIHA members based in Chicago have reached out to the association to offer resources.
PRIHA hopes to leave impressions on the communities it enters which will naturally grow enthusiasm for hockey.
PRIHA members have formed lifelong friendships and we are sure that will continue as the association grows.
The Chicago on-ice sessions will be supplemented by festivities to coincide with the Easter holiday. PRIHA understands that celebrations of this kind are very important to our members.
Hopefully the success of Fiesta De Hockey in Chicago and New York will build momentum toward an on-island event in the future!
Message from Hockey Operations Co-Chair / Performance Coach Lee Elias:
We have been meeting regularly to prepare practices, team development, game strategy and processes to evaluate and put the best team together for competitions now and into the future.
The goal is to inspire each and every member, regardless of role, to provide their maximum effort to help PRIHA achieve its collective goals of growing the Puerto Rican footprint in ice hockey and having our teams compete at the highest levels possible. That starts with making sure all of us understand what our goals are and how we all play a role in achieving them.
From the national teams, to our youth teams, to our development teams, to the volunteers, parents, families and the island itself - there is no way forward without each other!
In watching the World Baseball Classic, I took a lot of pride in seeing the Puerto Rican team wear the same logos as we do on our jerseys. No matter what team you skate for — or role you have in PRIHA — when we wear that crest we represent the nation and people of Puerto Rico!
Collectively, we must never take that for granted!
Media and Brand Spotlight:
The association reached a major media milestone over the last week. For the first time, the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee (COPUR) officially recognized PRIHA on social media.
A social media post from Luis Vargas was released to coincide with Puerto Rico’s tremendous showing at the World Baseball Classic. The post featured Luis brandishing landmark pucks from PRIHA’s history, including the first Puerto Rico Hockey goal ever scored and a puck from the 2022 LATAM Cup Gold Medal Game!
The post wished Puerto Rico baseball luck in their matchup against the Dominican Republic, which resulted in victory!
COPUR reposted the photo on its Instagram story.
PRIHA social media has also been spotlighting efforts to grow the game!
Be sure to follow PRIHA on Twitter, Instagram and subscribe to the YouTube channel!
The March “Member Spotlight” falls on Eva Macci-Garcia from the PRIHA U12 team. Eva competed for Puerto Rico at the 2022 LATAM Cup in September.
In the leadup to the tournament, Eva’s grandfather sadly passed away. But before he passed, his family made sure he knew that Eva was going to make them proud by representing Puerto Rico on the ice.
Despite the devastating loss, Eva and her family were able to use the PRIHA experience to honor his memory and help them heal.
After the tournament, Eva created a video dedicated to her abuelito.
Eva cherishes the great bonds she formed with her teammates and the life changing experience of competing for her nation.
Her mother, Glendaly, raved about the opportunity for Eva to wear the Puerto Rican colors and represent her family and culture. She and other parents said they are so grateful for the friendships that PRIHA has given their children. She said that Eva and her teammates travel to games around the country to support each other.
Eva, her family, and her teammates show us that there is so more to PRIHA than just the game of hockey.