Oman becomes the fourth IIHF member country from the Gulf region after the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.
Oman was granted associate member status. The sport of ice hockey in the sultanate of over three million inhabitants dates back to 2002.
“Hockey came into existence thanks to the personal effort of a few individuals who built the Omani ice hockey team almost 12 years ago,” said Anad Al-Balushi, the President of the Oman Ice Sports Committee.
“The team practised once a week at the Al Khuwair ice skating rink,” said Al-Balushi, who also became the team’s coach in 2009. The team has participated at several invitational events in the Gulf region.
The team now plays at a newer rink in the Qurum area of the Omani capital of Muscat sized 44.9 on 24.64 metres.
There are currently 24 senior and 15 junior players registered in Oman and 12 female players who are interested in playing hockey.
“We at the Oman Ice Sports Committee are thrilled and excited to be part of the IIHF and part of the world ice hockey community. Every hockey player in Oman had this dream of our country being a member of IIHF,” Al-Balushi said.
“This opportunity gives us the key to strive to appear outside Oman and get exposure of ice hockey around the globe in addition to competing and showing our skills and ability in IIHF-affiliated tournaments. We are happy by this news and willing to go beyond expectations with the help of the IIHF.”