As announced at a press conference on Tuesday, the ECHL’s Brampton Beast will play an exhibition game against the Indian national team on October 9th.
India isn’t known for their long hockey history, having only played annually as a national team since 2009. The team only competes in one tournament a year, the Challenge Cup of Asia, a low level tournament aimed at helping Asian teams develop in a low cost event. This year, India will be taking part in the Division I tournament, taking place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from April 9th-14th against Kyrgystan, Macau, Oman, Malaysia, and Qatar.
Hockey teams in smaller nations don’t tend to get much funding. As seen with examples in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, it’s hard to get financial aid when there isn’t much hockey action going on, and without money to play, there can’t be anyways to make money. Despite joining the IIHF in 1989, it took them all the way up until 2009 to hit the ice, and still don’t get a chance to play often. Games like this are designed to help with that.
It’s not uncommon for smaller national teams to form rosters around Toronto in an attempt to further build their program. Just this past weekend, a select Israel team battled against a team of Dallas Stars alumni, losing the game 14-4. While unofficial, it’s expected that the Jamaican national team will hold a training camp on January 1st, 2016, about half a year after their first ever junior team won silver in their debut tournament.
The beast, Canada’s only ECHL franchise, is currently affiliated with the Montreal Canadiens and St. John’s Ice Caps of the AHL. The game will be the first time an ECHL team has faced an international team, something that is rare among any league in general.
The game is currently set to be played at the Powerade Centre in Brampton on October 9th at 7:15 PM. A portion of the $29.90 ticket cost will be donated to the Indian Hockey Association.
To learn more about hockey in India, click here.
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