Icy break to grab glory

Dow Travers will not be the only
Cayman resident causing a stir in Canada this weekend.

Hockey team Cayman Breakaway are marching
onto Roulston Lake
to represent the Cayman Islands in the 2010
World Pond Hockey Championships. 

This is the sixth time the
Breakaway team will be competing in the event staged in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick,
Canada.

The Breakaway team is comprised of
Martin Goschl, Bill Messer (Captain), Norm Klein and Joe Stasiuk.  All are Caymanian and combined have resided
in Cayman for almost 100 years.

Almost all have strong links to
local hockey with Messer and Stasiuk having children in the youth roller hockey
program.

The Championship has recently
allowed teams to add a fifth player on their rosters and the Breakaway added
former Cayman resident Darren Lawrence to their squad. 

Captain Bill Messer explained
“Darren is an old friend of ours from his days living and working in Cayman and
recently moved back to New Brunswick. 

“We asked him to join us as an
insurance policy in case any of our players were hurt or unable to make the
trip.”

That insurance paid off quickly as Klein
is still recuperating from a bad knee injury last year and Goschl is unable to
attend this year’s tournament.

Cayman Breakaway will be one of 120
four-person teams from around the world playing on 20 outdoor skating rinks
constructed on Roulston
Lake.

The Cayman team arrived in Canada this
week and played their first game yesterday. 

The tournament is usually played in
very cold conditions and often while it snows. In one year the temperature
actually dipped to negative 60 degrees Fahrenheit (with the wind chill) and
frostbite became a serious concern. 

This year the forecast is for
temperatures around 20 degrees Fahrenheit with slight winds.

For Breakaway player Norm Klein the
cold is not an issue for Cayman.

“Hockey was invented and originally
played on frozen outdoor ponds and lakes. 
Before moving to Cayman, all of us grew up playing our early years in Canada
on those same ponds and lakes and so in many ways the championship is a return
to our childhood years. 

“Every player in the tournament
comments on how wonderful it is to play hockey in the way it was originally
meant to be played.”

All of the teams each play five
qualifying games over three days to earn the right to play in Sunday’s final
playoff round of 32 teams. The Breakaway have the made the 32-team playoff
round just once in five years but are hungry to make the cut once more. 

Captain Bill Messer says making the
cut this year will be hard.

“It is a fantastic honour to
represent Cayman in the World Championships but our focus each and every year
is to play on Sunday.

“We know that task becomes more
difficult each year as the championships have become world famous and attract
the top players from around the globe.”

The Breakaway are something of a
media darling since their first appearance in February 2005. Every major news
and sports media, including ABC, ESPN and Sports Illustrated have cover the
event and the Cayman hockey team.

The Breakaway were heavily featured
on the all-day ‘Hockey Lives Here’ program on TSN, ESPN’s Canadian sports
programming partner.  In addition to the
many print, radio and TV spots, the Breakaway were given prime coverage on ABC
Sunday World News report from Plaster Rock.

The Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation produces Hockey Day In Canada, an annual day-long celebration of
Canadian hockey. The Breakaway team met Canadian personalities like Colleen
Jones, P.J. Stock and Kelly Hrudey.

For team member Joe Stasiuk the
yearly coverage is huge for the squad.

“It’s amazing to me the warm
reception we get from the people and the media every year.”

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