|National teams|| Men's|
|National federation||Brazilian Ice Sports Federation|
|IIHF since||June 26, 1984|
|Top league||Brazilian Championship|
|Current champion||Sociedad Hipica Campinas|
Brazil is a country in South America. Brasilia is the capital, and Sao Paulo is the largest city.
|Brazil Championship||2008||2010||Defunct national championship|
History of hockey in Brazil
The game of ice hockey was first played in Brazil in 1968 in the ice hall of the hotel Quitandinha, located in Petropolis. Games were frequently played there up until the hotel's closure in 1975.
The driving force behind the sport in Brazil was a German businessman named Erwin Dietenhofer. He bought and sold gems in South America. Dietenhofer was also the president of the Brazilian Ice Sports Union until 1992 when he died from a snake-bite at the age of 72. He moved to Brazil from Germany in the 1950's where he once had played Ice hockey for SC Riessersee. He wanted to keep his hobby "alive" in Brazil so he arranged trainings and ice time for people who wanted to try it out. Most of the folks from the early 1970s and 80's who played and practiced hockey were European emigrants but also a fair amount of Brazilians played the game. When Holiday on Ice visited Brazil in 1978, the game was again resurrected briefly.
Some of the early clubs that were active in Brazil included: Rio Ice Hockey Club, São Paulo Pandas Ice Hockey Club, HC Minas Gerais, HC Belo Horizonte and HC Petropolis.
The São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte clubs were the most long-lived Brazilian teams. They played exhibition games against each other but the distance between the two teams (over 375 miles) made it difficult to meet at a regular basis. The most successful team in the 1980s was without a doubt the São Paulo Pandas. The club was founded late in 1980 by a 21-year old Brazilian engineering student named Claudio Bock. The team was mostly made up by Brazilians and they played three vs three without goalies at a tiny ice rink (14x12m) in the Santo Amaro neighbourhood.
One of their prominent players and coach was then 17-year old Ronald Calhau who joined the Pandas in the summer of 1981 after having returned from studies in the USA. He was later a three time figure skating champ of Brazil. Calhau also helped forming the Gladiadores do Rio De Janeiro in 1981, when he spent a month in Rio de Janeiro. He did it together with Japanese Yoshio Nagasaki and American Andrew Lawrence who had lived in Brazil since 1961.
The team also had a Scandinavian, plus local players. In Rio the rink was 40x20m. The São Paulo club came over and the two teams played a series of exhibition games against each other. The São Paulo club was much better in the beginning. No championship was ever arranged, though. Both Nagasaki and Lawrence started a hockey school in Rio. The team got better and a year later or so they played evenly with the Pandas. The two teams met a couple of times each year, usually in front of a lot of curious spectators.
Not until 1983 were there enough active players for any real games. At its peak Brazil had five senior teams and five junior teams with over 300 registered players. The best clubs were the São Paulo Pandas and CCEG Rio de Janeiro. None of the rinks in Brazil were full sized.
Another ice hockey club that Calhau was a co-founder of was Clube Paulistano de Esportes no Gelo. They were from São Paulo and had both hockey and figure skating. Calhau served as the vice president of the club. Another club was formed in Belo Horizonte (Orange and Black) in 1984.
During the 1983-84 season a larger rink opened in the Morumbi Shopping Center, also in São Paulo. But the new rink did not have any boards, so the players made their own removable wooden boards that they had to mount for every practice. They also needed a special insurance because of all the flying pucks that broke the windows of the stores around the rink, needless to say that the hockey players weren’t too popular among the store owners. Of course there were no dressing rooms so the players had to change in the shopping mall restrooms or at home. The practices during weekdays were always held late in the evening, beginning at 22:00 or 23:00. During the weekends they had them early in the morning. Equipment was also a problem, many of the players made their own hockey sticks as well as protective gear.
In 1985 there were four rinks in the country: in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Riberao Preta and Brasilia. There also were portable ice rinks in Petropolis, Recife and Belo Horisonte. In 1987 the first "real" rink was about to be built in Petropolis (about 60 km (37 miles) north of Rio), but it was never finished. Most of the rinks were squeezed into supermarkets and weren't available until after closing time at around 11 PM.
In 1986 the Gladiadores do Rio de Janeiro club was renamed by Nagasaki and Lawrence to Rio Ice Hockey. At its peak the club had over 100 players, divided into A, B, and C –teams. The Rio club still played annually against São Paulo.
Another pioneer during this decade was Alexandre Capelle, who still ran the "Capelle's Hockey School" as recently as 2010.
In 1990 Geraldo Cardoso, an 18-year old student and former player for Rio Ice Hockey, moved to Canada to study and play hockey. He played junior hockey until an unfortunate shoulder injury. When he returned to Rio de Janeiro in 1993 he discovered that neither the rink or the Rio Ice Hockey club existed anymore, in fact, no ice hockey existed at all in Brazil at the time. So in 1994 he formed the “Mad Parrots” inline hockey team with his friend Maurice Steiger. At the same time this group played recreational ice hockey once a week at the Shopping center in Barra de Tijuca.
A national championship (Campeonato Brasiliero de Ice Hockey) was staged for the first time in 2008. The tournament was set up by the Hockey Association of the State of São Paulo. It was held from 8:30 to 11:30 AM on March 29, at the Eldorado Shopping Mall in Sao Paulo. The preliminary games lasted 20 minutes while the third place and finals matches ran for 30 apiece. The championship was repeated in 2009 and 2010. Sociedad Hipica de Campinas won all three tournaments staged. On November 29, 2008, a Sao Paulo State Championship was held.
The Brazilian National Team made its international debut at the Pan American Ice Hockey Tournament in 2014, finishing fifth. They returned to the Pan-Am tournament the following year and won the bronze medal. The Women's Brazilian National Team first entered the international scene at the 2015 Pan-Am women's tournament.
Special thanks to Patrick H. for supplying information on the country.