The Philippines will host the 2018 Challenge Cup of Asia from April 3-8, 2018 at the SM Skating Mall of Asia in Pasay City, Metro Manila. This is the first time that the country will sponsor the annual international ice hockey tournament that is sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).
The 2018 Challenge Cup also marks the first time that the Philippines will compete in the men’s top division of the annual tournament among some of the best ice hockey teams in the region. Federation of Ice Hockey Philippines president Chris Sy said, “We are very proud and excited to host, for the first time, the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia which has been held in different countries since it was founded in 2008.”
In the five-nation Challenge Cup of Asia, the goal of the Philippine Ice Hockey Team is to make a podium finish as it rides on the momentum of its gold medal victory in the first-ever ice hockey event of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. Backed by the SM Group, the team will play against Thailand on April 3, 2018, Kuwait on April 5, 2018, Mongolia on April 6, 2018 and Singapore on April 8, 2018.
All games of the Philippine team at Challenge Cup of Asia are scheduled at 7 p.m. Other games will feature Singapore vs Mongolia on April 3, 2018 at 3:30 p.m., Mongolia vs Kuwait on April 4, 2018 at 7 p.m., Thailand vs Singapore on April 5, 2018 at 3:30 p.m., Mongolia vs Thailand on April 7, 2018 at 3:30 p.m., Kuwait vs Singapore on April 7, 2018 at 7 p.m., and Kuwait vs Thailand on April 8, 2018 at 3:30 p.m.
During the Challenge Cup, the Olympic-size ice skating rink at the SM Skating Mall of Asia will be the battleground of the competing ice hockey teams. It is equipped with complete facilities such as a digital scoreboard, players’ boxes, scorekeeper and penalty boxes, locker rooms and a 200-seater stands located around the rink.
In the Philippines, the only company to carry Olympic size ice rinks is SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc. The company’s SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc. Chief Operating Officer Herman Medina-Cue stated, “We are honored to be a part of this wonderful opportunity to host the first official IIHF event in the country. This shows how the Philippines can truly be at par with its Asian neighbors not only in terms of the quality of its sports programs and athletes, but also in the quality of its sports facilities.”