On Saturday, 5 March, at 6.55pm TV viewers worldwide and especially those from the far reaches of Northern Canada to Toronto to New York City to Chicago to Los Angeles to Mexico City and the Caribbean watched the Cayman Breakaway on the closing feature segment of ABC World News Weekend.
The feature highlighted the recent World Pond Hockey Championships in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick and emphasized the inclusion of the Cayman Breakaway.
The ABC segment showed clips of the Cayman Breakaway fitted out in their Speedo parkas and attire complete with their sponsor logos, together with a sound bite from team captain Bill Messer, and rolling footage of team-mate Joe Stasiuk skating into the beer tent.
The ABC segment has culminated in more than $10.5 million worth of value in TV, radio and print media that has been delivered by the Cayman Breakaway team since its inception.
Sponsors for the Cayman Breakaway and beneficiaries of the media spotlight include the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Speedo, Cayman Airways, and Tortuga Rums and Rumcakes.
‘We knew from the very beginning that the Cayman Breakaway would be a people pleaser – the story of an ice hockey team from the Cayman Islands is an oxymoron that appeals to everyone,’ said Mr. Stasiuk. ‘As such, we carefully crafted a strategy to ensure we delivered a unique persona that would be entertaining from day one and could continue for the foreseeable future.’
‘We worked with Simon Barwick of BB&P to develop a logo that had to somehow marry our home, the Cayman Islands, with ice hockey, and also had to strike a chord with the fans,’ said team captain Bill Messer. The final Cayman Breakaway logo features a snarling stingray that is missing teeth, just like many pro hockey players.
‘From the all of the attention we received and the requests for team gear, I think we got it just right.’
Just having a cool logo, was the tip of the iceberg.
‘Perhaps the most critical aspect was committing to a rigorous training regimen that would make us a credible threat on the ice and make us proud to represent Cayman,’ Marty Goschl said. ‘We started working out after Hurricane Ivan. Norm, Bill and I were roller-blading and running, while Joe worked out at The Powerhouse Gym at King’s Sports Centre. The final piece of the puzzle was our on-ice sessions in Tampa that got us game ready.’
‘Everywhere we went during our trips abroad we constantly had people talking to us about our team and our quest. As ambassadors for the Cayman Islands, we made sure that everyone knew how beautiful our island is and how it was rapidly rebuilding post-Ivan and for them to come and visit. In fact, the CBC Radio crew from New Brunswick literally took us at our word and actually showed up here last week. Together with the DOT, we organized a trip for them to the Stingray Sandbar that blew them away,’ Mr. Stasiuk said. ‘We finally put them back on their cruise ship loaded with Tortuga Rumcakes and great big smiles on their faces. I’ve already been asked by CBC Radio if we would do a monthly segment on their morning radio show as we build up to the 2006 tournament.’
While one would assume that the opportunities for the Cayman Breakaway to play hockey and interact with the media are a year away, nothing could be further from the truth.
The Cayman Breakaway will host the International Ball and Street Hockey Federation Caribbean Cup from 28 April through 1 May at King’s Sports Centre.
The enlarged Cayman Breakaway team will compete against the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, and Turks & Caicos. It is possible that the tournament will be televised by TSN, Canada’s sports network. Afterwards, the Cayman Breakaway will travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to compete in the ISBHF World Ball Hockey Championships from 13-18 June. International media and ESPN will cover this tournament.
The Cayman Breakaway is also expected to be featured on the ESPN ‘Timeless’ show that will air sometime this month. That could take their total media value delivered to US$11.6 million.