When you think of hockey countries, the African country of Tunisia doesn’t likely come to mind. But thanks to players like Ihab Ayed, the team has managed to play their first game, a 6-5 loss to French hockey club Courbevoie on Saturday afternoon.
Once considered a pipe dream in the hockey world, hockey in Tunisia can be traced back to 2009 when the team was formed by French player Ayed in Courbevoie, France. Made up of 25 Tunisian players playing across 6 countries, including Canada, Sweden and Finland, the country is currently the fourth African based team behind Morocco, South Africa and Algeria.
The sport is currently not considered an official sport in Tunisia, but that could all change. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Ihab said he hopes to see hockey domiciled in Tunisia in 2015, with an application to the IIHF looming in the near future. There is even talks of a new ice rink being build as part of a shopping mall that will allow the national team to have a stable home for years to come.
“The Tunisian people are fond of new sports. Whether winter or combat, new sports develop there more,” said Ihab. “Tunisia will detect new talent in all sports within and outside its borders”.
Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.