PH 54th in world ice hockey rankings

THE Philippines placed No. 54 in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIFF) world rankings released last Friday.

It was the first time that the country made it to annual world hockey rankings, which has Canada leading the way.

Thailand, the reigning Southeast Asian Games champion, is the highest-ranked nation in the region at No. 50 while Malaysia, which missed the podium in the biennial meet, sits at No. 53.

Singapore, which won the silver in the competition held at the SM Mall of Asia Skating Rink, curiously was not in the world rankings.

A tropical country, the Philippines is taking its first steps on the international stage after becoming an IIHF affiliate in 2016.

When ice hockey was introduced in SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, the Filipinos surprised everyone by winning the gold medal.

Being the host, the country tried to defend the crown, but the Thais produced a flawless showing in the rink to claim the gold. Thailand won all of its six games with an aggregate score of 75-3.

The Thais hammered the Malaysians, 15-0, in the semifinals, before defeating the Singaporeans, 8-0, in the gold medal game.

The Philippines settled for bronze following a 17-1 romp of Malaysia.

Fil-Swiss Steven Fuglister led the country's campaign along with Carl Montano.

The roster also featured three rising ice skating standouts led by 19-year-old Aro Regencia, who joined forces with Fuglister on offense.