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Date: 4/1/2018

Six teams are set to battle for three places at the 2018 Men’s Pan American Championship when the ‘North and Caribbean Zone’ qualification takes place from April 3 to 8 in Mexico City. The North and Caribbean Zone qualification determines which sides go on to contest the continental championship, and takes those teams one step closer to a place at the 26th IHF Men’s World Championship in Germany and Denmark in 2019.
The North and Caribbean Zone qualification will be contested between hosts Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada, USA, Cuba and Dominican Republic. Both Cuba and Dominican Republic hope to end an eight-year wait to contest the Pan American Championship, as they last played the event in 2010.
While Dominican Republic have only played the Pan American Championship twice, in 2000 (sixth) and 2010 (eighth), Cuba were crowned champions of the continent at the first eight events, from 1979 through to 1998. In 2000, Cuba were finally overthrown by Argentina, leaving with the silver medal. Since then, they finished third in 2008 and fourth in 2010, and have since not been part of the Pan American Championship.
The remaining four sides playing the North and Caribbean Zone qualification competed in the previous Pan American Championship in 2016, where Puerto Rico ranked the highest of any team from the region, as they finished sixth. At the event in Buenos Aires, Mexico placed seventh, USA were eighth and Canada finished 10th.
The three top-ranked sides from the North and Caribbean Zone qualification will join four teams from the South Zone. The South Zone qualification tournament was cancelled after Venezuela withdrew from contention, as four places at the Pan American Championship were available and only four teams remained: Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
Brazil, Argentina and Chile were directly qualified for the Pan American Championship, while Greenland, as hosts, had an automatic berth for the event to be held in Nuuk from June 16 to 24. Guatemala round out the 12 teams to vie for the continental title, qualifying as winners of the Caribbean Games.