The Bermuda Ball Hockey Association cannot wait for the national team to take on the world on their home rink at the World Ball Hockey Championship Masters in September.
The event, for men who are 40 and over, and women aged 35-plus, will take place at the clifftop rink at Pembroke Community Centre, on the North Shore, from September 25 to 30.
“We are tremendously excited about hosting the Masters Championship,” said Mathieu Desjardins, the event chairman with the BBHA. “A total of 12 international men’s teams and five international women’s teams will be competing over five days for the title of Masters World Champion.
“In the past, Team Bermuda has played overseas in many international tournaments, including the Masters World Championships and we are pleased be able to host such a significant tournament on our island.
“Close to 600 players and support crew, their family members, friends and fans will be visiting Bermuda for a week or more bringing a significant boost to our tourism industry.”
Bermuda will go into the tournament reasonably confident of success.
They won the Bermuda Ball Hockey Classic against visiting teams from the United States and Canada, and several players from that team are set to play this year.
George Gotson, the president of the International Street & Ball Hockey Association, was on island last year and told The Royal Gazette how he hopes the event can be a springboard for the island’s youngsters to take up the sport and envisions Bermuda staging similar tournaments.
“Bermuda could be a venue that we could come back to for other events in the future and bring a lot of economic impact to the island,” he said. “When you talk about 5-600 players at the Masters, you’re talking about families, wives, husbands. You’re talking about 800-900 people coming for about six-seven days. I cannot even fathom how many millions of dollars that is, but that’s a lot of money.”
Gotson said that Bermuda’s national team have been a credit to the island at previous tournaments.
“What these guys have done across the world is well respected,” he said. “They have represented Bermuda with class. They’ve shown people from Asia and Europe who don’t know anything about Bermuda, what Bermuda is about.
“We’re interested in training some young Bermudians to referee in their league so that maybe they can ref in some of our international rinks.
“We also hope that some young Bermudians will look at the sport and maybe want to take part in a world championships.”