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National women’s hockey players keen to impress on home soil

Coach Kovin Moodley (left) and the Bermuda team celebrate after winning their qualifying group for the CAC Games (File photograph)

Bermuda’s hockey players should be on top form in the next few days as selection for the Central American and Caribbean Games could well depend on their next performance.

With the island’s final squad to be announced early next month, individual displays by the Bermuda Onions on home soil in the next three days against a visiting squad from New York in the Big Apple Tournament may go a long way to securing their spot in the first team.

“This forms part of our preparation and we have quite a unique situation in Bermuda where we have players that are both on island and off island eligible for selection,” Kovin Moodley, the Bermuda head coach, told The Royal Gazette.

“What we are trying to do is host a team that’s a little bit different to the teams we have on island so we get to challenge ourselves in a different way but invite those players, so we basically are going to have as close to the full pool of players eligible for selection .

“Then we are hoping to see where our preparation has taken us and that, along with these performances will translate into selection because we need to make a selection for the team real soon and that team will be the one representing Bermuda at the CAC Games.”

The tournament, which kicks off tonight (6pm) and continues on Saturday (11am) and Sunday (11:30am) at the National Stadium, will provide tBermuda with a high standard of competition to put their principles into practice in a game situation as they step up their preparations for the upcoming Games.

“We prepare in three-month phases and we’ve had two so far since CAC qualifiers,” Moodley added. “Within those phases there’s different targets that we are looking to hit and we’ve got one more phase to come before the CAC Games.

“At this point we are in phase two, where we are trying to secure the identity of the team and determine what kind of tactics we want to employ that fits the profile of Bermuda hockey.

“I think that has been going quite well and it leads us into a good position going into this tournament because we have had a couple of warm-up games with teams on the island and it will be good to experience something new and unique.

“It also gives us a chance to play in a tournament format as opposed to just a regular match once every week so hopefully we can try and recreate some of those tournament dynamics and then challenge the players mentally as well.”

Moodley says the players are highly motivated since they qualified for the CAC Games after topping their qualifying group last April.

“I think the excitement is interesting as it means so much to the players so there’s a great deal of pride associated with qualifying at the tournament last April, which was hosted in front of the home support,” he added.

“Now we go into the next step, which is obviously more challenging, and so it requires more sacrifice because we actually want to achieve something that Bermuda has never achieved before and that requires us to give a lot more to the process.

“It’s definitely excitement but there’s also a lot of pressure that we are putting ourselves under and we are hoping that maybe it’s something that sparks the growth of hockey as well as your national team performing well on an international stage.

“We have already seen what the qualifiers have done for exposure and recognition and I think that’s only going to get better with the level of commitment and sacrifice the team is already putting in.”

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Published March 10, 2023 at 7:54 am (Updated March 10, 2023 at 7:54 am)

National women’s hockey players keen to impress on home soil

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