The Cayman Islands Ball Hockey Association is hosting a visit from George Gortsos, Canada’s hockey team head coach, from today.
He is here until Sunday. Gortsos is an accomplished player and coach having won several awards including four world championships as a coach.
Cayman’s national ball hockey team is presently training for the world championships later this year in Pilsen, Czech Republic.
Organiser Mark Thompson said: ‘The Cayman Islands Ball Hockey Association is very pleased to have Gortsos here to offer the team some intensive training and skills development drills to improve their skills leading up to the world tournament.’
Ball hockey is a physically intensive sport. It is similar to ice hockey in that teams play five a side with sticks and the ubiquitous plastic orange ball.
However, unlike ice hockey, there are no pucks and no skates. Cayman’s ball hockey league presently has six teams and league games are played at King’s Sports Centre.
Ball hockey in Cayman has been a favourite pastime for over 20 years. The only remaining player from the sport’s introduction to Cayman is Thompson, who started the sport here in 1987.
In the early days, the informal group played every Tuesday night at the old Cayman Prep soccer court, then moved to the basketball court near Cox Lumber where they played for 14 years.
In 2002, the sport moved indoors to King’s and has been growing and thriving ever since.
The CI Ball Hockey Association is funding Gortsos’s trip here and has also invited the respected coach to work with players and coaches from the youth hockey league too.
Thompson added: ‘The CI Youth Roller Hockey Club is very excited about Gortsos’s youth clinics as the club (a group of volunteer parents with children in the league) has been planning to host coaches clinics, in order to improve player and coach development.’
In the meantime, the men’s Cayman national team is pursuing its dream of a world championship. They hope this dream will come closer to reality with coach Gortsos’s visit this weekend.
For more information about ball hockey in the Cayman Islands and/or coach George Gortsos, contact Mark Thompson [email protected].