Our own Lebanon just made the news... This time with hockey! Let us start with a little bit of history before we keep going: The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) founded on 15 May 1908 in Paris, France, is the governing body of international ice hockey, and it has expanded since then to 81 IIHF national association members.
The recent 2019 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress has admitted five new nation members: Algeria, Colombia, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Lebanon. In addition, a new member was approved to represent Greece.
You might wonder how that Canadian-born ice sport, which is extremely popular in North-America, has to do with Lebanon, and since when Lebanon has a hockey team (!)
Montreal-based Charles El-Mir led a dedicated group of Lebanese expats who brought ice hockey to Lebanon, with the founding of the Lebanese Ice Hockey Federation (LIHF), and last year’s recognition by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The LIHF, which is currently based in Montreal, Canada, with youth operations based in Beirut, has been created to advance hockey initiatives of Lebanese players worldwide. That is in addition to enabling international development and representation of Lebanon in the sport of ice hockey.
This achievement is the result of the determination and perseverance of the LIHF, which worked closely with Lebanese and Canadian governmental organizations, such as the Lebanese Ministry of Sports, the Lebanese Olympic Committee, the Canadian Embassy in Lebanon and the Lebanese Embassy in Canada.
The LIHF is not going to stop here. Its eyes (and obviously ours) are on representing Lebanon in the Olympic winter games!
Mr. El-Mir summarizes the main mission of the LIFH as follows: "We are a statement of love and unity expressed by today’s Lebanese generation. Our mission is to offer an opportunity for our federation to spread internationally while encouraging their values, such as the spirit of unity, sharing, and love for our country."
According to IIHF, there are officially 107 Lebanese Hockey players to date, distributed as follows: 36 males, 31 juniors, and 40 females.
We wish them all the very best of success, and we cannot wait for some names to shine!