Colombia did it again

Colombia did it again

18 Jun 2016 | Davide Tuniz

After the unexpected victory in 2015, Colombia confirms title of Pan-American Tournament. Goalie Zack Frost Grisalez shares his impressions with Eurohockey


The title of Pan-American Tournament remains in Colombia: after the surprising victory of 2015 edition, when "cafiteros" won Mexico after shoot-outs, another dramatic final, decided at penalties once again against host Mexican team, at third consecutive silver medal, gives South-American team the second title. After a 2-2 draw in regular time, Nicolás Fierro and tournament top scorer Juan Diego Fierro scored for Colombia, while goalie Zack Frost Grisalez saved the last Mexican shot, becoming the hero for his team.

The third edition of Pan-American, as usual played in Mexico, counts with five teams (Argentina A, Argentina B, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico A and Mexico B)  from 4 countries. Despite a 2-6 defeat in the first game against Mexico, Colombia had a sequence of 4 victories - 17-0 vs Argentina B, 3-1 vs Argentina A, 6-1 vs México B 6-1 and 9-1 vs Brasil closing the qualifying round as runner-up, after undefeated home team. While Brazil failed to confirm 2015 third place, defeated 2-0 by Mexico B in the bronze medal, the Colombian team, composed almost by inline players, due the lack of ie competitions in the country, grabbed the gold.

One of few full-time icehockey players - debuting in this editon - is 17-years-old goalie Zack Frost Grisalez, playing in Swedish junior leagues with AIK Härnösand. Eurohockey had a brief talk with him:

Zack, how did you land from Sweden to Colombian team?

Well it all started about a year ago when i was looking at stats online and i found the Colombian national team was competing in the Pan-am games. So I looked it up and found the Facebook page of them. So I contacted Carolina Fierro and a year later she contacted me thru Facebook and asked if I was interested in playing for Colombia in the Pan-am games and to defend the gold medal. Due to my dual citizenship (Sweden and Colombia) I was able to play.

Which was the secret for your victory? Last edition could have been a mere concidence, but after the second gold definitely your team is competitive

The reason that we won the gold medal game was that we played with our hearts and for our country. We played a great defensive game, and had great shooters in the shootout.

Any plan to join IIHF and maybe III division?

The plans are that hopefully we can form a hockey federation in Colombia, and join the IIHF and then play div III WM. But I definitely think we should play there, we beat Mexico that plays division 2B. So we are definitely good enough.

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