The Philippines is home to some of the best ice hockey players in the world. From seasoned veterans to up-and-coming stars, the country has produced its fair share of elite players who have gone on to compete at the highest levels of the sport.
Whether it’s in the form of competitive leagues, international tournaments, or even the occasional exhibition game, the Philippines has been able to showcase its ice hockey talent on a global scale.
We’ll take a look at some of the most accomplished ice hockey players from the Philippines that have made their mark in the sport.
1. Steven Füglister
Steven Füglister is one of the best ice hockey players in the Philippines. He was born in Zurich, Switzerland, but his mother is from Negros Occidental.
He started playing ice hockey at the age of four and moved to the Philippines in 2015. He became the captain of the Philippine men’s ice hockey team that won gold medals at the 2017 and 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
He also led the team to its first championship at the 2023 IIHF World Championship Division IV in Mongolia, where they defeated Indonesia, Kuwait and the host country.
2. Manvil Billones
Manvil Billones, hailing from North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA, is a standout figure in Philippine ice hockey. Although born in the US, he proudly represents his mother’s homeland in international competitions.
His journey in the sport began at the tender age of six, and he honed his skills with teams like the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, the Philadelphia Revolution, and West Chester University in the United States.
In 2020, he made a pivotal move to the Philippines, joining the Manila Bearcats in the PHIHL. Billones assumed the role of captain for the national team at the 2023 IIHF World Championship Division IV in Mongolia, clinching a historic gold medal with a remarkable 12-point performance and securing the Most Points award.
He stands as a pioneering figure and an enduring inspiration for aspiring Filipino ice hockey players.
3. Carlo Pastrana
Carlo Pastrana, born on May 9, 2005, in Manila, is a rising star in Philippine ice hockey. Playing as a defenseman or forward for the Manila Bay Lightning in the PHIHL, he’s quickly gained recognition.
He began his hockey journey in 2019 with the Manila Bearcats and later joined the national team. In 2023, he made his senior national team debut at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division 4, displaying his remarkable versatility and leadership.
Pastrana’s speed and agility, combined with his mentoring role, make him a standout figure in a sport striving for popularity in the tropical Philippines.
4. Kenwrick Sze
Kenwrick Sze is a standout figure in the world of ice hockey in the Philippines. He kickstarted his hockey journey at the age of 10 through the Manila Ice Hockey League, swiftly emerging as a gifted forward with a knack for scoring and setting up goals.
His talents shone on the international stage, representing the Philippines in prestigious tournaments like the Southeast Asian Games and the Challenge Cup of Asia.
Sze’s pinnacle achievement came in 2017 when he played a pivotal role in securing the nation’s first-ever gold medal in ice hockey at the SEA Games, earning himself the coveted title of Most Valuable Player.
His groundbreaking success and dedication make Kenwrick Sze a revered role model for aspiring Filipino ice hockey enthusiasts.
5. Miguel Relampagos
Miguel Relampagos is a standout ice hockey player hailing from the Philippines, excelling as a forward for both the Manila Hawks and the national squad, the Philippine Eagles.
His remarkable talents have shone on the international stage, participating in prestigious tournaments like the Southeast Asian Games, the Challenge Cup of Asia, and the IIHF World Championship Division 4.
Notably, he played a pivotal role in securing the Philippines’ inaugural ice hockey gold medal at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. Furthermore, his exceptional performance, including a crucial goal and assist in the final match against Kuwait, facilitated the nation’s ascent to Division III-B during the 2023 IIHF World Championship.
6. Julius Santiago
Julius Santiago, born on June 3, 1996, is a standout figure in the world of ice hockey in the Philippines. He showcases his exceptional skills as a member of the Philippine Eagles in the Philippine Ice Hockey League (PHIL).
Additionally, Santiago proudly represents his nation as a vital part of the Philippines men’s national ice hockey team, currently ranked 54th globally by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).
His impressive journey includes participation in prestigious tournaments like the HKAHC Invitational Amateur Ice Hockey Tournament, the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia, and the Southeast Asian Games, where his prowess has contributed to his team’s victories and numerous accolades.
Santiago’s unwavering passion and talent make him a true ambassador for his country on the ice.
7. Paolo Spafford
Paolo Spafford is a celebrated ice hockey goaltender from the Philippines, renowned for his remarkable achievements on both domestic and international stages.
Born on June 10, 1985, he embarked on his ice hockey journey in 2015, progressing from the MIHL-PHI to the prestigious PHIHL while representing the national team.
Spafford’s historic moment arrived in 2023 when he clinched the title of the first Filipino goaltender to secure a shutout in the World Championship Division IV.
He thwarted all opposition, denying goals in games against Kuwait and Turkmenistan, registering an impeccable 1.000 save percentage and a goals-against average of 0.00.
This triumph led the Philippines to its inaugural gold medal in Division IV, earning them a promotion to Division III-B for 2024.
8. Patrick Daniel Abis
Patrick Daniel Abis, born on September 28, 2003, is a standout ice hockey talent from the Philippines. Currently representing the Manila Bearcats in the Philippine Ice Hockey League (PHIHL), he’s also a crucial asset to the national team, competing in global events like the IIHF World Championship Division IV, Challenge Cup of Asia, and the Southeast Asian Games.
Abis embarked on his ice hockey journey in 2008, relentlessly honing his skills. His reputation is built on lightning-fast speed, remarkable agility, and a knack for scoring.
In 2023, an incident involving a head and neck check against an Indonesian player led to a one-game suspension for the latter, but Abis’s indomitable spirit ensured his swift recovery, allowing him to continue representing his nation with unwavering pride and determination.
The best ice hockey players in the Philippines are undoubtedly some of the best in the world. Their commitment to the sport is unparalleled, and they have consistently achieved great success in both international and domestic competitions.
With the help of their coaches, teammates, and fans, these players have been able to reach the highest levels of the sport and continue to excel.
As the sport of ice hockey continues to grow in the Philippines, more and more players will be able to reach the same level of success.