Hockey Diplomacy

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After a successful tour of North America in 2018, the UAE Women’s National Hockey Team returned to the US to give back to the communities they visited by supporting organizations that provide access to hockey for players of all ages and abilities. From February 2-13, 2019, the team partnered with the American Special Hockey Association in Washington, DC, New York and Boston and hosted clinics for athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

During the team’s February 2018 visit, as part of the National Hockey League’s ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ month, they met with professional and local hockey teams, government officials and community leaders in Washington, DC, Chicago and Ottawa. Through these sports exchanges, Emirati, American and Canadian players increased cultural understanding, broke down stereotypes and created lasting friendships.

Highlights of the 2018 trip included practicing with the Washington Capitals, scrimmaging with the Washington Pride, hosting a hockey clinic for youth players in Chicago and meeting Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. During their time in Washington, the team also met with members of Congress, US government officials and Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba to discuss how sports dispels cultural misperceptions and builds bridges between people from different backgrounds. In 2019, the Washington Pride added a new chapter to the exchange when they traveled to the UAE for a weeklong visit featuring scrimmages, clinics and cultural activities.