Greenland – Handball Team News

The Elgin Center, venue for the 2021 Women’s North American and Caribbean Championships

Last Thursday (April 8), the United States and the IHF announced that the United States would host the 2021 North American and Caribbean Women’s Handball Championships.

Appointment: The IHF announcement indicates that the teams will arrive on Sunday August 22 and depart on Saturday August 28, leaving 5 days (August 23-27) for the match competition.

Place: The competition will take place at the Eglin Centre. This is a multi-purpose facility and handball matches will be played in the 3 court court with a handball sports court laid out across where the 3 basketball courts are normally set up. Here are some pictures of the country house:

Weather: Being from Iowa (next to Illinois), I can attest that August can be hot and sweltering. We can assume that downtown Eglin is air-conditioned, but according to the Weatherbase website, the average high and low temperatures outside for the month of August are 82 and 60 degrees respectively. That might not sound too bad, but the saying “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” might be a common refrain at this time of year.

Qualification for the World Championship: The winner of the tournament will qualify for the 2021 Women’s World Championships to be played in Spain in December.

Number of teams: It is to be determined, but here are the teams (and, their order of arrival) which participated in the previous championships. (Source: Wikipedia)

  • 2015 (6): Cuba, Mexico, USA, Greenland, Puerto Rico, Martinique
  • 2017 (4): Puerto Rico, United States, Dominican Republic, Greenland
  • 2019 (7): Cuba, Puerto Rico, Greenland, Dominican Republic, United States, Mexico, Canada

Format: Again, that’s TBD, but if the same teams from 2019 were to participate, there would likely be 3 days of pool play followed by a crossover day (semi-finals) and a finals day. The schedule would be:

  • Monday, August 23 Pool game
  • Tuesday, August 24 Pool game
  • Pool game on Wednesday August 25
  • Thursday August 26 Crossover Semi-finals
  • Friday August 27 Finals/Placement Matches

If fewer teams participate, however, the format could change to a simple round-robin format as was used in 2015.

Seeding and Performance Ranks: Again, TBD, but here’s what the ranking/performance ranks would be based on the 2019 results:

  • Row 1 (Cuba, Puerto Rico)
  • Row 2 (Greenland, Dominican Republic)
  • Row 3 (US, Mexico)
  • Row 4 (Canada)

USA squad selection: Again, a lot of speculation here, but assuming the coin toss process used for most handball tournaments applies, USA as host will be able to pick whatever group they want for the billiard game. This means that rows 1, 2 and 4 will first be drawn and assigned to groups A and B. The United States will then select the group they want, and then Mexico will be assigned to the other group.

Here are the 4 possible group decisions that USA would have (if the 7 teams that participated in 2019 play in 2021):

  • Group A (CUB, GRL, CAN); Group B (PUR, DOM, Vacant)
  • Group A (CUB, GRL, Vacant); Group B (PUR), DOM, CAN)
  • Group A (CUB, DOM, CAN); Group B (PUR, GRL, Vacant)
  • Group A (CUB, DOM, Vacant); Group B (PUR, GRL, CAN)

This, of course, will change if some teams do not participate or if new teams show up. But, assuming it’s the teams that show up, the United States might have to decide between avoiding Cuba or taking a day off during the pool game. Cuba is the favorite odds for this tournament, but a rest day in such a short 5-day tournament might also be highly desirable. Another strategy to consider: if the United States were to select the group of Cuba, the United States would be guaranteed not to face Cuba in the semi-finals. Which would be good, but it also makes the semi-finals a bit more difficult.

Terminology: I don’t know how the acronym NORCA or Nor.CA was originally adopted for this event. Basically, it’s an abbreviation of “North America and the Caribbean” and it was a competition that actually started under the former Pan American Team Handball Federation (PATHF). Now that PATHF has split into the North American and Caribbean Handball Confederation (NACHC) and the South and Central American Handball Confederation (SCAHC), I saw it as the NACHC Championship. Comparing this to other continental handball championships, it is a bit non-standard in that the EHF calls its championships the European Championships and not the EHF Championships. Anyway…I don’t care what we call it, but I say the NACHC nations get together and definitely pick a name.

And, here’s a Pandora’s box for you: Google “North America” and see how many different definitions there are. Depending on who you talk to, North America can end at the US-Mexico border, the Mexico-Guatemala border, or the Panama-Colombia border.