United Arab Emirates
|United Arab Emirates|
|National teams|| Men's|
|National federation||UAE Ice Hockey Association|
|IIHF since||May 10, 2001|
|Top league||Emirates Ice Hockey League|
|Current champion||Dubai Oilers|
The United Arab Emirates is a country in Western Asia. Abu Dhabi is the capital, and Dubai is the largest city.
|Emirates Ice Hockey League||2009||-||Top-level national competition|
|Dubai League||2002||-||Amateur competition|
|Emirati Championship||1979||2002||Defunct national championship|
History of hockey in the UAE
The first games of ice hockey were played in the country in the 1970s. The first national championship was held in 1979, but the development of hockey soon slowed down, and the championships were not held regularly until the early 1990s. The Dubai League was formed by expats in 2002. The Emirates Ice Hockey League was founded as a national competition in 2009, and currently has five teams participating in it. The top players from the Dubai League play in the EIHL as the Dubai Mighty Camels.
The UAE won the the 1999 Asian Hong Kong International Ice Hockey Cup. It was their first time playing in an international competition. The national team made its official debut at the 2007 Asian Winter Games in Changchun, China. They defeated Kuwait 6-2 at the tournament for their first international victory.
In 2008, they won the Arab Cup of Ice Hockey, which was held in Abu Dhabi. They have participated at the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia every year since 2009, finishing first in 2009 and 2012, and second in 2010 and 2011. The UAE has won gold at all four Gulf Ice Hockey Championships staged since 2010. They finished in third place in the Premier Division at the 2011 Asian Winter Games.
The team became the first from an Arab nation to play in the World Championships when they participated in the 2010 Division III World Championship. Although the team was not ranked in the world rankings, they played against Ireland, Luxembourg, and Greece, and finished last in the group with a record of four losses. They returned to compete in Division III for three straight years from 2013-2015, notching their first WC win over Georgia in 2014, 6-1.
UAE decided to withdraw from the 2011 Division III tournament in Cape Town, South Africa because the national team refused to compete against Israel, who was also in the tournament. They also withdrew from the 2016 Division III tournament as well, with no reason cited.
The U18 national team played its first game at the 2012 IIHF U18 Challenge Cup of Asia, hosted by Abu Dhabi. They took second place after going 3-1 at the tournament.