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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 05/03/2014
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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) High-flying hockey action to hit the ice in the Doha desert from today till March 1 with teams from around the Middle East converging for the 9th annual CNA-Q Desert Cup tournament

While ice hockey and the desert may seem at odds, the sport has thrived in Qatar. Teams from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations will be represented, bringing a mix of players from all over the world, including the United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Slovakia and Germany. Admission to the games is free

The sport has also developed among Qataris more accustomed to booting footballs than slapping pucks. The Qatar Ice Hockey Federation was formed in 2010 with the goal of one day qualifying for the Asian Games. The International Ice Hockey Federation welcomed Qatar into the organization in 2012

The Qatari National team - known as Qatar Oryx - will be participating in the tournament

Doha also boasts the Qatar International Ice Hockey League, which has kept expat and local hockey lovers happy for the past decade. Playing on the Gondolania Ice Rink in Villaggio Mall, the QIIHL provides high-octane action to curious onlookers every Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday

Hockey's spread in Doha is surely guaranteed as many players volunteer twice a week to coach youngsters of all ages and sizes in the Qatar Minor Ice Hockey Association. Training children aged 5-17, the program boasts more than 100 young skaters from around the globe

Qatar-based College of the North Atlantic (CNA-Q) is a main sponsor of ice hockey in the country, supporting both adult and children's leagues for years. CNA-Q has roots in hockey-crazed Canada and recognizes the importance of growing the sport, including by showcasing The Desert Cup to an international audience


The Peninsula

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