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President’s Blog from Bermuda

Day 3

Today I actually lived the life of a tourist. And in short I had a great time but am sitting here writing this to the ISBHF family with a good sunburn!

Today I was picked up at the pier by ISBHF member and Bermuda team member Scott Steele. We headed out into the ocean to a wonderful cove where we were met by other members of the Bermuda team. Anchors were put down and 5 boats were joined as one as the shore line about 200-250 meters away from us teased us with a pristine white beach. For me I jumped in the warm refreshing waters and soaked in them for hours. What really made a impact on me as I watched this community is how they do this with their kids and spouses every Saturday. This is an amazing way for these people to bond and relax. I am told they have tied together as many as 14 boats in this hidden cove.

Again near the rink where we would be playing there is a beach just below us. Where in the world does a hockey arena have a beach with white sands and clear warm waters to swim in after a hard game.

And now I pack my clothes and gear. I am thankful for all the meetings we attended with Mathieu Desjardins and his team. And will take back a little of the Bermuda passion as I fly back to Toronto. One thing for sure is that I am really proud for the game of ball hockey that we have a nation who has a great league on the ground, with a long history of very skilled play and most importantly a community that brings people together through our game.

The game of ball hockey has had a long history in Bermuda, and I know it has a long history to create with this great ball hockey community. I look forward to seeing them all soon.

Evening 2

Last night was a beautiful evening in Hamilton, Bermuda. It started with a bristling happy hour in the Hamilton Princess with the couple they call Jiggs and Benny. Matt & Jillian Benson accompanied by the gregarious, and trash talking big fella from the SIX Matt Katzsch – both Matts are on the Bermuda National team! On the dock it was beautiful and I could truly see players from around the world enjoying this beautiful setting looking out into the marina, having a drink after a game and enjoying the salsa and disco music.

The Bensons and Matt were great hosts and are great ambassadors for this island. I thank them for taking the time to show me this part of the city and being able to share with our ISBHF family.

We then took a short walk into Hamilton to the beautiful chic restaurant called RED. Where the rest of the Bermuda Ball hockey entourage was waiting for us to arrive for dinner. A group of 15 sat down for a wonderful dinner made by the Head Chef, who by the way plays in the Bermuda league!

I was very happy to see some old vets from our past events besides the two Matt’s who joined us. Big Chris Merritt, Jean-Michel Tremblay, Ryan “Newf” Sulley and Chad Cundliffe. Three players that have been part of the Bermuda squad playing at ISBHF Worlds all over the World. And yes sporting those Bermuda shorts!

After dinner Red’s turned into a bustling nightclub. Where you could go out on the balcony and see the harbour. Or go inside and dance the night away. It was a great evening.

Today I am being taken out by our host Mathieu Desjardins and the rest of our Bermuda group to finally enjoy the waters of Bermuda on a pontoon boat on this beautiful sunny day. Go swimming in a beautiful beach.

Stay tuned for more pictures from Bermuda on my last day.

One thing for sure – this Island, this Ball Hockey league and family, continue to impress me more and more daily.

 

Day 1 & 2

The keys to success in our sport is preparation. For us at the ISBHF we go the extra mile and work with our many partners around the world to find venues, cities and nations that want our players and sport to come and visit them. This is done with a thoroughness and planning that has no equal in our sport.

Yesterday, I arrived in beautiful Hamilton, Bermuda. Very warm, and sunny. Right after, I visited Fairmount Princess Southampton – an amazing venue close to beautiful beach, with a golf course, spa, water spa with whirlpools and large pool for use of players after games. I also visited the Warwick Academy, an amazing sporting facility to be used for practice.  One of the largest gymnasiums I have seen anywhere.

A beach very close to the rink

Today in Bermuda I met with many people. And it all starts from the group of guys that play their league games in the most beautiful rink in the World as far as setting goes.  Last night in the blistering heat 16 runners and 2 goalies played a great game of ball hockey. Great bunch of guys 8 of which were members of the Bermuda squad that played in Pardubice. They played a highly skilled match with great goaltending. And great camaraderie after the game. I don’t think a beer every went down better. And they even let the old-timer score the last goal of the game – I will remember that one!

Today I met with members of the Bermuda Ball Hockey Board. A group that has kept this league going since 1999. Their unique draft system keeps teams fresh and the league itself has kept and built lasting friendships. And built teams that have represented Bermuda with pride since coming to their first ISBHF event in 2001. They are a gregarious and fun bunch. But they are serious and proud to be organising tournaments and cooperating with the ISBHF in the future.

Have you ever seen a better situated rink?

 

They have a plan and are working out a thoughtful approach with the right partners for the goodwill of their fellow ISBHF family. Today we met with Government officials who are passionate to bring our community to this beautiful country at the Tourism commission. Just great people who see the benefit of our group coming to their nation. And they will be partners in creating the Bermuda experience.

Finally we met with the Food and Beverage expert and proud Bermudian from the Restaurant Flanagans & Outback who has graciously sponsored the Bermuda league for years.  Based on this great experience hosting the Americas Cup and Bermudian pride I am sure we will have cost effective food and beer close by to keep the players happy as always at our events. And a festival like atmosphere.

Every day I am more and more impressed. By this beautiful island and people. And the respect the Bermuda Ball Hockey family has here.