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How Many Countries Play Ice Hockey?


The Friendship League has now played hockey in 6 countries, with many more destinations planned for the near future. People are often very surprised to learn that some of these destinations, including Kenya and Turkmenistan, have ice at all – let alone full ice hockey programs. But the truth is, ice hockey is far more common around the world than you might think. The game is played regularly across 6 continents and in some of the countries that you’d least expect. In this blog post, we’re going to attempt to figure out just how many hockey nations are out there!

The simplest answer comes from the International Ice Hockey Federation, which boasts 82 member national associations. But the reality is a little bit more complicated. Of these 82 members, only 59 are considered to be full members. To be a full member, a country must have a national governing body separate from the winter sports federation, and they must compete regularly in IIHF championships. A further 22 countries are considered associate members. These countries either don’t have an independent national federation, or do have one but only participate in IIHF championships on a limited basis. Lastly, you have Chile, which is considered an affiliate member but does not compete regularly in ice hockey events.

The next thing to consider is how many of these countries actually have ice? For example, despite having immense success on the ice (and winning the LATAM Cup), Jamaica does not have an ice rink in the country as of 2022. Rather, the players largely train and live abroad. The situation is similar in Colombia, which like Jamaica, has a national team but does not have an ice rink in their home country.  Many other countries do have ice, but not the full Olympic size required for international competitions. Countries such as Kenya, Ecuador, Algeria and Egypt all fall into this category.

Lastly, we need to consider how many countries out there have ice hockey, but are not considered IIHF members. Costa Rica, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and Bahrain all have ice rinks where hockey games are played on occasion but they are not IIHF members.

If you are aware of any additional countries that have ice hockey being played, please let us know. As of now, we believe that ice hockey is played in the following 85 countries:

Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, DPR Korea, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, China, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, China, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Türkiye, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.

We hope that you join us on our quest to play in all 85, as well as any new hockey nations that join in along the way!

***We recognize that there is no set definition of what a country is. For the purposes of this blog, a country is any geographic area recognized as a country by EITHER the UN or IIHF.

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