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Ball hockey teams brace for start of play-offs

Appleby head into the play-offs seeking to defend their title (Photography supplied)

Following the conclusion of the regular season, the eight teams in the Bermuda Ball Hockey Association league are gearing up for the play-offs.

When the best-of-three knockout stage starting on Wednesday, CG who finished top after the teams each played 19 matches, will play the league’s bottom club Hamilton Princess.

Second-placed Frontier’s path to the semi-finals involves getting Applied Computer Technologies out of the way. Positive Image Dental are taking on Spine and Sport, while BDA Spirits face Appleby, the champions last season.

Appleby had a tough regular season, which saw them win six matches and lose nine, but Ryan Marshall, their general manager is not giving up on their title defence. Marshall is looking to goalkeeper Paul Yves, the most valuable player in last season’s play-offs, to carry them all the way.

“We are excited to defend our championship,” Marshall said. “We are once again led by our goalie Yves, who is heating up just in time for a deep play-off run.

For Appleby forward James Amaral, the real action starts only when they head into the play-offs.

“We are the defending champions for a reason,” Amaral said. “The real season begins for us in the play-offs and the boys are fired up for that opening face-off.”

Spine and Sport go into the knockout stage of the season counting on their highly rated goalkeeping duo of Yan Leclerc and Derrick Holmes. The two were drafted into the same team because they had inconsistent availability due to work and family demands.

Leclerc, a league veteran and former league president, is hungry for his first league championship in Bermuda.

Jeremy Estey, the league’s leading scorer, anticipates CG to carry their regular-season momentum into the knockout stage.

“We’re carrying a lot of momentum into the play-offs after a great second half and first-place finish with notable performances from Moad Fahmi and Israel Guzman down the stretch,’’ Estey said.

“But this is when the games really matter so we expect big games from our veteran defence, goaltender Dave McPhee and hockey IQ leader John Duda, who has been scoring lately in a Bedard-like fashion.

“I like our chances with our strong two-way team game, especially with our mid-season addition of Craig Rowat who has been a great net.”

BBHA president Hart Freedman expects the knockout stage of the season to bring excitement to the league.

“Our play-offs are an exciting culmination of a long season full of team work, friendship and camaraderie,’’ Freedman told The Royal Gazette.

“Each week we get the opportunity to play an action-packed sport on one of the most unique venues in the world – Bermuda’s ocean-side hockey rink on the North Shore. The regular season is fun, but the play-offs are the thrilling finale.”

At the conclusion of the regular season last week, BBHA held a charity fundraiser.

“During our March Madness Charity Fundraiser, we raised a total of $6, 000 via raffle sales,’’ Freeman added.

“Some noteworthy donations came from the BBHA, Docksiders women's netball team, Reed and his team at Docksiders, and Sean McNulty of XIB Investment Management.

“The BBHA players all rallied for a good time for a good cause and are really proud to be supporting the Fibonacci Foundation, the charitable wing of Planet Math.”

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Published April 02, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated April 01, 2024 at 12:17 pm)

Ball hockey teams brace for start of play-offs

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