Ball hockey teams from around the world are to face off in Bermuda when the island hosts the International Street & Ball Hockey Federation’s World Masters Championships later this year.
Around 600 players, support crew, family and friends are expected to visit the island for the tournament — and pump more than $1 million into the island’s economy over five days.
Ian Nash, committee member for the Bermuda Ball Hockey Association, said: “It’s a great sporting event to bring to the country.
“This is exactly the type of event that the Bermuda Tourism Authority has been looking for.”
Mr Nash said the September event is expected to bring 12 international men’s teams and five international women’s teams for five days of competition.
He said the event is one of the biggest on the ISBHF calendar with the best international over-40 teams involved.
Mr Nash added that the age group involved in the competition could translate to a bigger boost to the local tourism industry. He said: “I’m over 40, and when I go somewhere I like to stay in a good hotel and eat out at the restaurants, so this really is the type of event the BTA should be looking for.
“This is not like some events where people will stay in someone’s house or in the military barracks. These are folks who have money and are willing to spend it.
Mr Nash said the event will be streamed overseas and give viewers around the world a taste of Bermuda’s beauty. He said: “The tournament will be held at our stadium at Admiralty Park on North Shore, and it’s probably one of the most beautiful outdoor rinks in the world.
“You can see the ocean in the background and the cliff right nearby, and we are working with partners to make sure we get some great aerial shots.”
He added that a Bermuda team will compete in the tournament and that Bermuda has had some success in ball hockey.
Mr Nash said: “Bermuda competed in the World Ball Hockey Championship several years ago and actually won in the B Division, which is big for a little island.”
Pat Phillip-Fairn, chief product and experiences development officer with the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said they were happy to be involved with bringing the event to Bermuda.
She said: “We know the incoming participants will enjoy the competition, camaraderie with fellow athletes and our legendary Bermuda hospitality.”
The Royal Gazette and sister company Bermuda Press have also signed up to support the event as the media and branding sponsors.
Jonathan Howes, CEO of Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd, said: “It is a natural fit based on our recent success as the branding supplier for the WTS event in April and The Royal Gazette’s international reach as a trusted media outlet.”
Other sponsors include Goslings, Flanagan’s Irish Pub, Outback Sports Bar and the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, the hotel partner for the event.
Tim Morrison, general manager at the Princess, said: “Attracting high-quality sports tourism events with international appeal is a clear win for Bermuda, and similarly an important component to our overall marketing objectives.
“We are delighted to be named the official hotel partner for the masters world championships and look forward to welcoming teams from around the world.”