CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Francisco X. Rivera has given the 2023 Amerigol LATAM Cup an NHL voice.

The Los Angeles Kings Spanish-language play-by-play voice called two men's games Thursday, marking the first time that games at the annual tournament were broadcast entirely in Spanish.

"To be here, just being part of history … seeing teams from so many different backgrounds, Greece, Lebanon, Egypt, Armenia, some of the new faces facing off against Latin American countries," said Rivera, whose calls were streamed on "It's something you might not see in other sports unless you're talking about the Olympics or the soccer World Cup. It's just incredible to see so many different nations face off and see different styles and learn about the players."

Rivera was behind the mic signaling "Goooaaalll!!!" soccer-style and providing anecdotes on players in Colombia's 7-4 win against Argentina in a men's Division II game and Greece Heritage HC's 5-0 victory against Mexico Warriors in a men's Division I game at Florida Panthers IceDen, the Panthers' practice facility.


Amerigol International Hockey Association founder and president Juan Carlos Otero said Rivera broadcasting games at the LATAM Cup is a testament to its growth.

"It shows the reach of this tournament that we have someone flying out from the other side of the country to call two games here," he said. "It's like full circle not only for players, their experience of having someone like Francisco Rivera calling their games, but also kids who want to grow up to be announcers to show them that he's reached this point in his career that he's calling NHL games in his native language."

Rivera, who also is a contributor for, the League's official Spanish-language website, said he has watched the LATAM Cup grow from five teams and 92 players in 2018 to 33 teams with more than 750 players representing 21 countries and territories at this year's tournament, which runs Aug. 23-27.

Among this year's participants are teams representing Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Venezuela, along with teams composed of players of Caribbean and Central American heritage. Teams representing Armenia and Greece also debuted at the tournament.

Players are skating in six divisions, including men's Division I and Division II, a women's division and teams in under-12, under-14 and under-16 groups.

The NHL and the Panthers are sponsoring the tournament. The Amerigol International Hockey Association received $35,000 (Canadian) from the NHL/NHL Players' Association's Industry Growth Fund during a Hockey Advancement event as part of 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend festivities.

Winning the LATAM Cup men's, women's and youth championships was a springboard for Puerto Rico gaining associate membership in the International Ice Hockey Federation in September, 2022.

Francisco X. Rivera on LATAM Cup, growing the game

Previous LATAM Cup titles by Colombia's men's and women's teams prompted the IIHF to invite them to compete in the IIHF Development Cup tournament for emerging hockey nations in 2022.

Colombia, a country without an ice rink, won the men's tournament in Fussen, Germany, in May and the women won their tournament in Kuwait City in November.

Rivera said the success of the LATAM Cup was a factor in the Kings establishing its Mexico City Jr. Kings youth hockey program.

Los Angeles has sent former Kings players Derek Armstrong, Mike Weaver and Brad Smythe, as well as Blake Bolden, a Kings scout and diversity and inclusion specialist, to Mexico City to help run camps.

"We had already expanded, before I started, into China, and that was very important to start a program there," Rivera said. "But then I think seeing what LATAM Cup and the Mexico Warriors were doing, we were, like, 'Mexico City is a great destination for us.'"

The LATAM Cup and the growth of hockey in Mexico inspired Rivera to start skating two years ago. He was supposed to play with the Division II Mexico Warriors men's team at the tournament, but a scheduling conflict caused him to arrive a day late.

"Even though it was going to be three minutes of garbage time, just being out there would have been exciting," he said. "When the Mexico Warriors told me, 'Hey man, you have a spot with us, it's an honorary spot … if you want to come in when the game is not that close, just skate with us a little bit, sit on the bench, listen to the anthem,' those things are definitely special.

"It didn't pan out, but it was going to be living my dream for three minutes."

Photo courtesy of Aubrey Corkum