Team USA Finishes Group Play with Resounding Win over the Dominican Republic

Julia Taylor on attack vs the Dominican Republic

Julia Taylor on attack vs the Dominican Republic

The U.S. closed out group play with an easy 26-13 victory over the previously unbeaten Dominican Republic.  Unlike its first two matches, Team USA, left no doubt as to who was the better team as it dominated the match from start to finish. Particularly encouraging was a stifling defense that limited the Dominicans to just 13 goals in 60 minutes.

Team USA was led in scoring by newcomer, Ashley Butler, with 7 goals. Kathy Darling had 4 goals, while Ashley VanRyn, Elizabeth Hartnett and Jence Rhoads had 3 a piece.  Rounding out the scoring were Jennifer Fithian with 2 and Nicole Andersen, Julia Taylor and Shani Levinkind with 1 each.

Note:  Nicole Andersen injured her knee in the first half and her status for tonight’s game is unknown.  Zoe Lombard has been cleared to play.

The U.S. will now play Greenland in the first semifinal tonight at 1730 EDST.  According to the U.S. Federation website a livestream of the match will be provided by Greenland supporter Boas Moller at his Facebook page: Link

The second semifinal will be between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic at 1930 EDST.

Analysis

Ashley Butler, left handed and just 19, has been a welcome addition to the U.S. providing a much needed scoring threat from the right hand side of the court.   She has dual German-American citizenship and has been playing since age 10.  She currently plays for HSG Hude Falkenberg in the Nordsee Oberliga (Germany’s 4th Division).  At 5’4”, she might be a bit undersized at back court, but against NORCA level competition she more than compensates that shortcoming with quickness and good court sense.  Against stiffer competition she may struggle to score at 9 meters and so could be a better fit at right wing.  As a lefty with good quickness she could progress through the club ranks at the right wing position and could be a mainstay with the U.S. national team for many years to come.

Regarding the upcoming semifinal, the U.S. can take comfort in making it through group play undefeated and finishing group play with a resounding, dominating win.  But, hopefully, it’s a reserved confidence as Greenland showed that it could compete with the U.S.  Key to the U.S., as usual, will be controlling the pace of play and avoiding turnovers.  In a helter skelter match anything can happen, but in a methodical game where the U.S. can set up their half court defense, they can dominate and control the match.

Team USA Stays Undefeated in NORCA Championships with a Win over Greenland

Ashley Butler leaps high as she scores 1 of her 4 goals for Team USA

Ashley Butler leaps high as she scores 1 of her 4 goals for Team USA

Team USA stayed unbeaten in North American & Caribbean Championships (NORCA) play with a hard fought 25-23 win over Greenland yesterday.  The match was a see-saw battle.  The U.S. dominated the first half and led 14-10 at the break.  In the 2nd half Greenland dominated the first 10 minutes of play with a 9-2 run to take a 19-16 lead.  The U.S., however, clamped down on defense at times marking Greenland’s Anja Salso.  The stepped up defense worked and the U.S. closed out the game with a 9-4 run for the 25-23 victory.

Kathy Darling again led the U.S. with 7 goals and currently is the overall tourney scoring leader with 14.  Ashley Butler and Sarah Gascon added 4, while Ashley Van Ryn and Jence Rhoads scored 3 each.  Rounding out the scoring was Julia Taylor with 2 and Elizabeth Hartnett and Shani Levinkind with 1 each.   Zoe Lombard and Nicole Andersen did not play as a precaution to concussion that each had previously received, but thet will hopefully return to the lineup tonight.

In last night’s other matchup Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic played to a 23 – 23 Draw. The current standings are

  • USA 2-0-0 4 pts +4 GD
  • Dominican Republic 1-0-1 3 pts +3 GD
  • Puerto Rico 0-1-1 1 Pt -2 GD
  • Greenland 0-2-0 0 pts -5 GD

The U.S. concludes Group play today with a match against the Dominican Republic.  The Dominican Republic beat Greenland on day 1 and drew with Puerto Rico yesterday, so they are right behind the U.S. in the standings.  If the U.S. wins or draws vs the Dominican Republic it will finish Group Play in first place and will play the fourth place team in the semifinals which will be the loser of tonight’s Greenland-Puerto Rico matchup.  Should the U.S. lose tonight they will finish in second place and accordingly will play the winner of the Greenland – Puerto Rico match.

Video of the match is available via Greenland supporter Boas Muller’s Facebook Page:

1st Half Video: Link

2nd Half Video: Link

The U.S. – Dominican Republic match starts at 1730 EDST.  If there is a live video feed I will post it to the Team Handball News Facebook page.

Team USA Starts NORCA Tourney with Epic Comeback

 

Jennifer Fithian wraps up a Puerto Rican attacker.  Also in the picture, Nicole Andersen (99) and Shani Levinkind (23)

Jennifer Fithian wraps up a Puerto Rican attacker. Also in the picture, Nicole Andersen (99) and Shani Levinkind (23)

Team USA opened the North American & Caribbean (NORCA) Championships yesterday with a big come from behind 28-26 victory over hosts Puerto Rico.  The match did not start out well for the U.S. with Puerto Rico taking advantage of several U.S. miscues on offense to surge to a 17-11 lead at the half.

The second half, however, was an entirely different story as the U.S. started the half with 2 quick scores from backcourt player Nicole Andersen.  This triggered a 9-2 scoring blitz and a 20-19 lead for the U.S.  The U.S. then extended their lead to 24-21.  Puerto Rico fought back to tie the score 24-24, but the comeback was squashed when veteran Sarah Gascon stopped a fast break with a timely charging call and followed it up immediately on offense with a forced 7 meter penalty shot.

Kathy Darling led the U.S. scoring attack with 7 goals and Nicole Andersen added 6.  Zoe Lombard, Jence Rhoads and Amy Butler had 3 a piece.  Rounding out the scoring was Julia Taylor, Sarah Gascon and Shani Levinkind with 2 each.  Nathalys Ceballo led Puerto Rico with 7 goals.

The U.S. continues with Group play matches tonight against Greenland and Saturday vs the Dominican Republic.  There are 4 teams in the tournament and all 4 teams will advance to the semifinals on Sunday with the 1st place team playing the 4th place team and the 2nd place team playing the 3rd place team.  On Monday the semifinal winners will play for gold while the semifinal loser will play for bronze.  More importantly the 3rd place match will also be a qualification match for the Pan American Championships later this summer with the winner advancing and the loser staying home.

On Demand Video of Match: Link

Note:  Except for the finals (gold and bronze medal matches) only matches with hosts, Puerto Rico will be streamed.  This means that the U.S. matches between Greenland and the Dominican Republic will not be available for viewing and that the U.S. semifinal match on Sunday will be streamed only if the U.S. plays Puerto Rico.  The Final match on Monday should be available regardless of who the U.S. plays.

Analysis:  The U.S. and Puerto Rico have significantly contrasting styles.  Puerto Rico is a smaller, quicker team that excels when the pace of the game is fast with lots of transition fast breaks.  The USA is taller and has consistently shown that they can play solid defense in a half court setting.  Where the U.S. has often struggled, however, is with inconsistent backcourt play on offense leading to limited offensive output and too many turnovers.

In the first half the pace of play definitely favored Puerto Rico.  With too many turnovers by the U.S. leading to fast break opportunities.  In the second half, however, the backcourt tandem of Kathy Darling and Nicole Andersen started to click more effectively resulting in more consistent scoring and fewer turnovers.  With fewer fast break opportunities Puerto Rico was forced to score in a set offense where they were stifled by the U.S. defense which was further backed up by strong play by goalie Bryana Newbern.

This was a promising win for the U.S. which now has two more group play matches to further integrate newcomers based in Europe into a core group of veterans that has played together longer.

Team USA Loses to Chile in Rematch for 3rd Place

The pivotal moment of the game: USA's leading scorer, Sam Hoddersen is red carded for this defensive play.

The pivotal moment of the game: USA’s leading scorer, Sam Hoddersen is red carded for this defensive play

In a 3rd place match that would also determine qualification to the Jr World Championships the USA came up short 23-18 vs Chile. Chile led throughout the match, and the USA mounted several comebacks in the 2nd half cutting the lead to 1 on a couple of occasions, but could never get over the hump. With 8 minutes left and the score 17-16, Chile closed out the game with a 6-2 run for the eventual 23-18 victory.

Abou Fofana led the U.S. in scoring with 7 goals. Antoine Baup, Alexander Binderis and Sebastian Wheeler had 3 each and Sam Hoddersen had 2 goals. Chile was led by Aaron Codina with 8. Fofana had several nice jump shots at 9 meters and Antoine Baup’s circle play was outstanding causing several penalty shot opportunities and 2 minute penalties.

The key play of the match without a doubt was Sam Hoddersen’s defensive foul on Chile’s right wing Enzo Toro with 6:05 remaining in the first half. The play resulted in a red card and Hodderesen’s exclusion from play for the rest of the match. As is often the case with defense against the wing it was a bang-bang play that in real time looked pretty innocuous. As Toro writhed in pain on the court Hoddersen pleaded his case to no avail.

Video: Link (foul occurs at 29:07 on Youtube clock)

Further compounding my suspicion was a red card exclusion of Chile’s Ignacio Porta just a few minutes earlier. Porta had fouled USA Circle Runner, Antoine Baup, and had received his 2nd two minute suspension of the game. Porta then apparently mouthed off to the ref, receiving yet another two minute penalty and as it was his 3rd of the game he was then red carded. Could the red card on Hoddersen been a way of evening the scores? I speculated on this and other aspects of the decision in my live audio commentary.

After the match, however, I consulted 2 experienced officials and both concluded independently that the red card decision was justified. The video of the foul is not the best angle, but multiple reviews as well as screen shots confirm that Hoddersen bent his knees inward and cut off the player’s jump. The still shot while grainy clearly shows Toro’s takeoff as behind Hoddersen’s legs. Did Toro dramatize the foul a bit and the extent of his injury? That’s quite possible, but in the end it doesn’t matter. The foul was for contact while a defenseless player is jumping and such a foul is grounds for a red card.

The impact of the Hoddersen red card was dramatic. Indeed, Hoddersen had scored 17 goals against Chile in the first match which the U.S. won 31-24. More importantly, Hoddersen had been Team USA’s most consistent player on offense and without his involvement on attack, the U.S. was more prone to turnovers. Repeatedly, I saw instances where his steady hand might very well have resulted in an eventual goal instead of a turnover.

While disappointing this Jr Team will have an opportunity for redemption next month when they take part in the IHF Continental Cup against Colombia, Guatemala and Martinique. Additionally, 5 of the athletes, Paul Skorupa, Sebastian Wheeler, Amar Amitovic, Nik Zarikos and Rene Ingram are young enough to participate in the Youth (U19) Championships which will take place in Chile also this April.

Video (1st half): Link

Video (2nd half): Link

Note:  Brazil won the gold medal match with a 31-23 victory over Argentina.  For more information on the tournament check the PHF website: Link

Live Video and Audio Links: USA vs Chile 3rd Place Match

Team USA celebrating their Group Play win over Chile.  The 2 teams meet again tonight to determine which nation will go to the World Championships.

Team USA celebrating their Group Play win over Chile. The 2 teams meet again tonight to determine which nation will go to the World Championships.

Team USA will take on Chile today for bronze and more importantly qualification for the Jr World Championships this summer in Algeria.  These two teams met in Group Play with the USA coming away with a 31-24 victory.  Both teams later qualified for the semifinals with the USA scoring a 25-23 victory over Uruguay while Chile dispatched tournament hosts Paraguay 36-24.  And, in the semifinals both teams lost by lopsided margins.  The USA lost to Argentina 31-22 while Chile was crushed by gold medal favorite Brazil, 30-11.

But, of course, all those results mean very little now.  It all comes down to this match for the USA and Chile.  The winner punches a ticket for the World Championships.  The loser starts preparing for 2019.

The Panamerican Handball Federation has been providing a video stream of all the action from Paraguay and tonight I am planning to provide some live audio commentary via the Mixlr website.  Feel free to listen in and provide your own comments/questions via the Mixlr chatroom or via twitter.

Live Video Feed: Link

Live Audio Commentary: Link

PHF Men’s Jr Championships:  Hoddersen’s 17 Goals Powers Team USA Past Chile

Team USA on defense vs Chile

Team USA on defense vs Chile

Team USA secured a 2nd place finish in Group B with a convincing 34-21 victory over Chile.  The match started out evenly and was tied at 8-8 midway through the first half.  The U.S. then pulled away for a 14-9 halftime lead.  In the 2nd half, Argentina cut the lead to 15-18 at one point, but the U.S. ran off 4 unanswered goals and never looked back closing out the game with 34-21 win.

Leading the U.S. in scoring  Sam Hoddersen, with 17 goals.  Chile had no answer for Hoddersen, who plays for German 3rd Division side, HSG Rodgau Neider-Roden, as he scored on fast breaks and multiple positions on the court.

Video of USA-CHI: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The U.S. is now finished with Group play and has a rest day prior to a quarterfinal matchup on Thursday  Barring a Chile win over heavily favored Brazil, the U.S. will finish 2nd in Group B.

In Group A action, Argentina beat hosts Paraguay, 33-23 while Uruguay held off the Dominican Republic, 41-38.  Argentina is likely to finish first in the Group while Paraguay is likely to finish 2nd.  Uruguay would then finish 3rd unless the Dominican Republic beats Paraguay in today’s final match.

After last night’s action, the group standings are

Group A
Argentina 2-0-0 4 points  +35 GD
Paraguay 1-1-0 2 points -2 GD
Uruguay 1-1-0 0 2 points -5 GD
Dominican Republic 0-2-0 0 points -28 GD

Group B
Brazil 1-0-0 2 points +28 GD
USA 1-1-0 2 points -21 GD
Chile 0-1-0 0 points -7 GD
Probable Schedule for Team USA

After a rest day on Wednesday, the U.S. will likely play Uruguay on Thursday in the quarterfinal.  With a win over Uruguay, the U.S. would then play Argentina in the Semifinals on Friday.  A win against Argentina would setup a likely rematch vs Brazil in the championship, while a loss would likely have the U.S. play the winner of the Paraguay-Chile quarterfinal match for 3rd place and the final ticket to the Jr World Championships.

PHF Men’s Jr Championships: Day 1 Results

Opening Ceremonies in Asuncion, Paraguay

Opening Ceremonies in Asuncion, Paraguay

 

Yesterday, the Panamerican Handball Federation (PHF) Jr Men’s Championships started with Brazil and Argentina scoring big victories in the opening round of Group play.  Argentina defeated the Dominican Republic 44-19 and Brazil beat the U.S., 52-24.  In the more closely contested 3rd match of the day hosts Paraguay beat Uruguay, 30-22.

After last night’s action, the group standings are

Group A
Argentina 1-0-0 2 points  +25 GD
Paraguay 1-0-0 2 points + 8 GD
Uruguay 0-1-0 0 point -8 GD
Dominican Republic 0-1-0 – 25 GD

Group B
Brazil 1-0-0 2 points +28 GD
Chile 0-0-0 0 points +0 GD
USA 0-1-0 points -28 GD

PHF Jr Championships webpage: Link

Today’s matches in Group A has yesterday’s winners and losers playing each other.  Argentina will be solid favorites over Paraguay, while Uruguay and the Dominican Republic will likely play each other for the 3rd place spot in the Group.

Group B will see favorites Brazil take a day off while Chile in the USA play in a match that will likely determine 2nd place for the group.  That match will be played at 1730 Local Time (1630 US East Coast Time).

Live Streaming Video: Link

Brazil vs USA

The U.S. played Brazil competitively in the first half and was only down 23-14 at the break.  The 2nd half was a different story as the U.S. tried a lot of different player combinations and was overwhelmed by Brazil’s deep bench.  The end result was 52-24.

Despite the big setback, USA Coach Mark Ortega, had an overall positive outlook on the opening match, noting that the team played hard for a full 60 minutes and has not yet had a full practice together.  2 starters for team USA only arrived the day of the match and surely were still working off some of the jet lag travel from a long journey.  He also singled out the play of goalkeeper Rene Ingram who had 8 defensive stops in the first half.  Coach Ortega is confident that his team will keep improving, particularly at the offensive end as they gain experience playing together.

Video of the match:  Link

USA Scoring
Sam Hoddersen, 6 Goals
Antoine Baup, 5 Goals
Abou Fofana, 4 Goals
Cedric Kolmann, 3 Goals
Paul Skoruba, 3 Goals
Sebastian Wheeler, 1 Goal
Michael Lee, 1 Goal
Amar Amitovic, 1 Goal

Mexico Drops Out of Women’s NorCa Championship

norca-2017

Looks like this nifty logo needs to be updated.

Qualification for the Pan American Championships just got a little easier for Team USA and other competitors participating in the North American and Caribbean (NorCa) Championships in March.  This is because, according to the Mundo Handball website Mexico is reportedly dropping out of the tournament leaving only four nations (Puerto Rico, USA, Greenland and the Dominican Republic) competing for three qualification spots.

Mundo Handball did not give a reason for Mexico’s withdrawal, but did speculate that some falling dominoes may result in Mexico qualifying for final tournament anyway as a sort of wild card.  This is because Cuba, which has already qualified for the final tournament by virtue of their 2nd place finish in 2015 may choose not to participate.  Mexico, which finished 8th in 2015 could then be in line to take Cuba’s spot assuming that places 1st through 7th have already qualified.

The NorCa is scheduled for March 30 – April 3 in Puerto Rico.  The four teams will play a round robin and then will be seeded for semifinals and finals.  The top 3 teams will qualify for the Pan American Championships which will take place in Toronto from 16 – 25 June.  The top 3 teams at that tournament will then qualify for the World Championships in Germany from 1 – 17 December

NorCa Tournament Schedule: Link

 

 

Canadian National Team in Brazil

Canadian men on defense against Cuba.  Cuba won the match played yesterday in Brazil 35-30.

Canadian men on defense against Cuba. Cuba won the match played yesterday in Brazil 35-30.

This past week the Canadian Men’s National Team traveled to Sao Paulo, Brazil to participate in a 4 Nation tournament with hosts Brazil, Chile and Cuba.  The Canadians finished last, but Coach Alexis Bertrand was quoted on the Brazilian website as being pleased, stating “We need this type of tournament to evolve our handball. It is important for us to play against skilled teams, just so we evolve in the sport.”   Both Brazil and Chile had several of their European based players competing as club teams were on break due to 2018 European Championship qualification matches being played this week.

Results

Friday, 4 November
Chile 37 x 24 Cuba
Brazil 46 x 12 Canada Canada Goals: Vachon (4) Larouche (2), Touzel (2), Chaduvet (1 .) Dupéré (1) Fischer (1) and Rousselle (1)

Saturday, 5 November
Canada 21 x 37 Chile
Brazil 45 x 17 Cuba Canada Goals: Larouche (5), Vachon (4), Touzel (3), Gaudet (2), Rousselle (2), Danulet (1), Van Wijk (1), Mercier (1), Dereck Dupéré (1) e Chauvet (1)

Sunday, 6 November
Brazil 40 x 29 Chile
Cuba 35 x 30 Canada Canada Goals: Vachon (11), Gaudet (7) Rousselle (3), Chauvet (3) Fischer (2) Mercier (2), Gordulic (1) and Dupéré (1).

Podcast: A Discussion on Handball in California and Argentina

femebal

Femebal: The regional federation centered around Buenos Aires has been the developmental force behind Argentina’s rise in the handball world

Cal Heat’s Martin Bilello and I discuss the state of handball in California and why there’s only been 2 major clubs there for several years.  In this free flowing conversation Martin also explains how handball is organized in Argentina and what the U.S. might learn from successful development programs there.

Femebal Website: Link

 

Subscribe to the Team Handball News Podcast in iTunes: Link

Or use this RSS Feed to sign up for the podcast in your favorite podcast aggregator: Link

Need balls, socks or shoes?  Check out the sponsor of this Podcast:  Team Handball Nation

THIS IS THE TRUE OLYMPIC SPIRIT

Play the Game 2009

By Christer Ahl

Six months ago, I used my Facebook and got the help of some friends to use their web pages to announce my need for an urgent kidney transplant.   So very many of you responded with best wishes and encouragement, and I thank all of your for this support which was invaluable in a difficult time.

But I was not so optimistic that my efforts would lead me to someone who would be willing to donate a kidney.  However, I am enormously happy to inform you that the miracle happened!  And it happened through my decades of involvement in sports, especially in handball.  An ex-player and now coach in PanAmerica, whom I met many years ago, when I was a referee and an instructor, saw my postings.  This fantastic man had already had in mind the idea of donating an organ, and when he now saw my name and photo, he decided to come forward.  Obviously, I am eternally grateful to him!

We are both doing well, and my kidney function is now very strong again.  And it was a special coincidence that our transplant surgery took place, precisely during the days of the handball competition in Rio.  This is to me a story about the meaning of the ‘true Olympic spirit’!

post

Qatar’s Rafael Capote: What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been

In 2007 Cuban Handball Player Rafael Capote defected in Rio at the PANAM Games. Nine years later he’s back in Rio, this time playing for Qatar. Can his journey to become an Olympian actually make you cheer a bit for the mercenary team in maroon and white jerseys?

In 2007 Cuban Handball Player Rafael Capote defected in Rio at the PANAM Games. Nine years later he’s back in Rio, this time playing for Qatar. Can his journey to become an Olympian actually make you cheer a bit for the mercenary team in maroon and white jerseys?

Well, in the midst of reports chronicling the mercenary nature of Qatar’s national team there’s surely been a couple of questions folks have been wondering.  How does a Cuban become a world class handball player? And, how does a Cuban end up playing for Qatar?

Well, the answer to the first question is that he’s a product of Cuba’s development system.  Perhaps the last remaining example of a communist style sports program, even if it’s been running on life support for the last decade or so.  Handball is not a huge sport in Cuba, but nevertheless it’s gotten some level of government support for years.  Players with potential are identified and they train together as a national team.  I’m sure there’s some choice in doing so, but the arm of the government also surely makes recruitment easier and participation strongly encouraged for those selected.

And, because other nations in Pan America put little emphasis on the sport Cuba has traditionally been a power in this hemisphere.  At times, they’ve even been competitive on the world scene.  But, every time this has happened defections have decimated the team.  Two notable players from earlier times are Rolando Urios and Carlos Perez who played for Spain and Hungary, respectively.

Capote’s defection is more recent and ironically enough Capote has now come back full circle to the city of his defection.  At the 2007 PANAM Games in Rio, Capote snuck out of his room with the clothes he had on, $300 and in the pouring rain he took a taxi to Sao Paulo where a former teammate was living.  Just 19 at the time, Capote then began a rather eclectic handball journey.  Playing first in Brazil, surely at a semi-professional or low paid level before moving on to Italy.  Italy is by no means a handball power, but for some reason it’s league that has been a stepping stone for a number of players from Latin America.  Obviously he played well otherwise he wouldn’t have been signed in Spain where he really started to get noticed, even becoming the EHF player of the week.  And, then when Qatar was awarded the World Cup, and hired a Spanish coach, it probably didn’t take Coach Rivera to consider bringing along a Cuban who hasn’t played internationally for several years.  Heck, I’m guessing that the crafty Rivera figured he could turn this pretty good back into a great back with a little time.  Something that’s clearly been accomplished and is just but one piece to the puzzle that has made this collection of decent cast offs a medal contender.

I wonder how Capote feels now having returned to the scene of his defection?  Just 9 years ago, he was 19 years old, scared, making the decision to leave the country of his birth (perhaps forever).  Surely not really knowing if this risk was worth taking.  Think about the “big decisions” you’ve made in your life and whether they pale in comparison. Talk about a leap of faith and crossing the Rubicon!  He could not have even imagined a journey that would take him from Brazil to Italy to Spain to Qatar and back to Rio nine years later as an Olympian. Walking into the opening ceremonies in flowing Arabic robes representing a country he probably had never heard of before.?  Heck, I can hardly imagine it.  And, while I’m no fan of the mercenary nature of the Qatari team I can’t fault Capote for taking this monetary and career opportunity.  Heck, I can’t help but root for him.

Rafael Capote Wikipedia page (Spanish): Link

Brazzil.com article on his defection in 2007: Link

PATHF Tournament Assignments:  North America with 3 Major Championships

PATHF-header-2-300x97

The Pan American Team Handball Federation (PATHF) met this past week in Argentina and the North American Zone was able to secure 3 major championships for 2017 and 2018.  Link

Canada will host the Women’s Sr. Pan American Championships from June 15-26, 2017 in Edmonton, Alberta.  Canada’s hosting of this tournament will be a major opportunity to showcase the sport’s growth in Alberta.  The top 3 teams from this tournament will also punch tickets to the 2017 Women’s World Championships in Germany. (Commentary on Handball’s growth in Alberta: Link)

Greenland will get the opportunity to host its first major tournament when it hosts the Men’s Pan American Championships in 2018 in the nation’s capital, Nuuk.  Air travel has always been an issue in the past with commercial flights to Greenland being expensive and only available via Denmark.  The tournament will likely be played in June and the top 3 teams (or more pending 2017 WC results) will qualify for the 2019 Men’s World Championships that will be cohosted by Denmark and Germany.

Finally, the USA will host the 2018 Pan American Beach Handball Championships.  The tournament will be staged in either Miami or Southern Californian in the March timeframe.  Both Men’s and Women’s tournaments will be played with a TBD number of places to be awarded spots at the 2018 Championships in Sochi, Russia.  The USA Men are the defending PATHF Champions.

Commentary:  I’ve commented on more than one occasion about South American dominance in PATHF affairs.  Canada was once denied participation in a PATHF Championship, despite having qualified for the previous WC (Link) and Greenland was even unceremoniously voted out of PATHF not to long ago: Link.  A decade or so ago it was pretty bleak.  Now 3 major tourneys all awarded to North America. Brazilians and Argentinians getting the opportunity to get a lot of frequent flier miles.  No complaints from me.  It’s time to sing Kumbaya around the PATHF Congress table!

Now we’ll see if the North American sides can take advantage of these opportunities to get some World Championships berth.  In particular, it should be interesting to see how Greenland will fare with what surely will be a loud and boisterous crowd backing them.