Ball hockey tournament ready to roll
Final work should be completed this weekend at the Oracle shed in Dockyard, which is being transformed into a temporary hockey rink ahead of the ISBHF Masters World Ball Hockey Championships.
Two venues will host the event, which starts next Tuesday with two matches at the Pembroke Community Centre: Austria against Old Glory USA at 4pm and Bermuda taking on the Czech Republic at 5.15pm.
“After that there is a huge opening ceremony at our sponsor hotel, the Hamilton Princess,” said organiser Mathieu Desjardins who is a member of the Bermuda team. “We’re expecting about 600 people to be flying in for the event and 11 of the 16 travelling teams are staying there. We maxed out our block of rooms in December last year.”
Jamahl Simmons, the tourism minister, and Kevin Dallas, chief executive officer of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, will attend. The Gombeys will also perform at 7.30pm in the courtyard.
The tournament will involve 12 men’s and five women’s teams, teams from the US, Canada, Greece, Italy, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Portugal, with all the players over 40. The women’s teams are Canada 1, USA 1, Ladies Slovakia, Canada NY Extreme and USA 2 and they will play their opening matches at 9.15am, 1pm and 2.15pm on Wednesday.
Round-robin matches will be played up to Friday, with qualification matches on Saturday and the final next Sunday. Matches will be played at the Dockyard rink on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, with teams travelling there on the ferry.
“It’s a huge undertaking, we started this two years ago with the BTA’s sports push and we submitted our application,” Desjardins revealed. “Last year we organised an event of five teams and it got traction with the ISBHF which is the worldwide organisation of hockey.
“We partnered with them to bring the event to Bermuda and the BTA is involved with us. This is the first time we’re holding the Masters here.”
Desjardins rates the rink at PCC as a perfect location to host the bulk of the matches during the weeklong tournament. “It sits on the water on a cliff and our biggest problem would have been the rain if we had it this week,” he said.
“The rink is such a nice facility, we just needed to kick-start the process and show these guys we can host 600 people. Gosling’s is our major sponsor and is hosting a huge closing ceremony at Pier 6 on Sunday night and Docksiders is hosting a pre-closing bash on Saturday night.
“We’re hoping the heat is going to slow down the opposition,” Desjardins joked. “The teams that are coming are pretty solid and apparently if we make the top ten it will be an achievement. We are probably older than most of the teams.”
Desjardins added: “We rented the Oracle shed in Dockyard, shipped in boards and literally built a rink about two weeks ago. We have a back-up in case of rain and we’re going to send a few teams over there to play one game, take the ferry and visit Dockyard.”
The smaller rink will feature four-a-side matches while the PCC rink will have 5-on-5 matches. “We love hockey but one think we’re also very proud of is Bermuda, though we’re not from here,” Desjardins said. “Most of us have made this our home and we’re very proud to showcase this to the players travelling here.”
The Bermuda team is made up mostly of Canadians and Americans, with Richard Campbell the one Bermudian on the team.
Games will be held from 9am to 10pm and admission to all the matches is free.
Goalie: Yves Paul, Yan Leclerc, Scott Steele
Defence: Richard Campbell, Mathieu Desjardins, Chris Coleman, Wayne Newhook, Troy Dort, Tom Washington, Adam Smith, Shannon Gosse.
Forwards: Scott Shannon, Chris Merritt, Cameron Poland, Cory Caouette, Matthew Berson, Nathan Kowalski, Ronnie Dzurus, Chad Cundliffe, Jean Michael Tremblay, Jeff Ingelman, Tom Miller, Chris Allington, Billy Calko.
Coach: Pete Brodsky
Manager: Dave McPhee