Puerto Rico has joined the International Ice Hockey Federation as an associate member.

The United States territory was admitted into hockey's international governing body during the 2022 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress that opened Thursday in Belek, Turkey.
Puerto Rico is the organization's 83rd member association.
Scott Vargas, president and executive director of the Puerto Rico Ice Hockey Association (PRIHA), called admission into the IIHF "just one more step in the right direction" toward growing the sport of the island.
"Now with IIHF associate member status, we will turn our full attention towards becoming full members in the IIHF," Vargas said. "We have several hurdles to face but will continue to put effort and attention toward growing the game in Puerto Rico and within our community."
Puerto Rico doesn't have an ice rink, a requirement for full IIHF membership, and the island has a problem-plagued electrical power grid.
The Aguadilla Ice Skating Arena, which opened in 2005 and was the only ice skating facility in the Caribbean, was damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017 and hasn't reopened.


The Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Argelot in San Juan, where the New York Rangers defeated the Florida Panthers 3-2 in the first and only NHL game played on the island, on Sept. 23, 2006, has ice-making ability but is a large multi-use venue.
PRIHA, a nonprofit organization founded in 2020 to promote and grow hockey in Puerto Rico, hopes to encourage government or private investment in a rink through the performance of the men's and women's hockey teams that have been formed from the 205 registered players who come from 23 states, Washington, D.C., and the island.
Puerto Rico's men's team, captained by Vargas, and its under-20 men's team
each won its division at the 2022 Amerigol LATAM Cup
at Florida Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs, Florida. The women's team won its division of the LATAM Cup in 2021.
"This tournament has been a great platform for us to be able to get competition in and really start to get the wheels moving," Vargas said Sept. 17.
Photos: BC Photography