Jamaica building 1st Olympic hockey team, holding tryouts in Canada
Lyle Stafford / REUTERS

Jamaica is making strides to have more of their athletes compete in the Winter Olympic Games.

The first Jamaican appearance in a Winter Olympic games was the bobsled team of 1988 in Calgary, Canada. Then Errol Kerr, who was born in the United States but chose to represent his father's native country, competed for Jamaica in ski cross at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. Now they're trying their hand at ice hockey.

The country established the Jamaican Olympic Ice Hockey Federation in 2011, and was recognized by the IIHF in 2012 as an associate member.

Lester Griffin is organizing the team as the program's assistant and, as the Jamaica Observer reports, he says there is enough interest from current players.

There [are] a significant number of players of Jamaican descent already competing in the Canadian and American Ice Hockey leagues and indicated that several of them have expressed an interest in representing Jamaica in the sport.

The JOIHF already reached out and teamed up with Graeme Townshend, the NHL's first Jamaican-born player, who left the country at the age of three to live in Canada with his family.

Saturday marks the first tryouts for the team held in Ontario, Canada, as the team hopes to recruit those of Jamaican decent to help build their team. 

The Jamaica Observer reports:

The JOIHF plans to build an ice rink in Jamaica and to set up a grass-roots programme to recruit and train Jamaicans in the sport. Accordingly a visit to Jamaica is being planned for September to announce in greater detail the plans to build the national effort and encourage the participation of locals in the sport.

The next winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea may be a little ambitious for the team, but they're hoping for an appearance in the near future.

Jamaica building 1st Olympic hockey team, holding tryouts in Canada
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