Coming to the Cayman Islands from Canada is quite an adjustment. Many Canadians do well to become part of the Cayman society, especially through their involvement with sport. One young man who has done that is Brad Galbraith.
The Ottawa native moved to Cayman four years ago at age 14 with his mum Heather Anderson. In that time he has continued his studies and is now a first-year college student.
He has been an active part of local sports; primarily in basketball, football and indoor hockey.
“When I first moved here I had a hard time adjusting,” Galbraith said. “Hockey was my life in Canada. It’s still a huge part of my life. Hardly a day goes by I don’t play basketball or hockey.
“I live with my mum and my step-dad Greg Anderson and I’m at the University College of the Cayman Islands. I’m in my second semester and taking five courses pursuing an Associate’s degree in Business Administration. Ideally I’d like to transfer to a school in Florida or Canada after 2012.”
Galbraith, 17, recently came to prominence as part of the Future Sports Club team that competed in the Appleby Under 19 Basketball League.
Future finished second in the regular season and were eliminated in the semi-finals by last year’s champions the Shockwaves of JML International Ltd. Galbraith had a decent year stats-wise with 11.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. However the George Town resident states the season was a learning process for him.
“This is my second year in basketball. I played for a team called the Playmakers last year and Future was a big step up from last year.
“How I got involved was in the summer I went up with the Cayman select team that usually plays at Florida colleges like Eckerd. I met Collin (Anglin, the head coach of Future) there and I decided to play for Future. Collin really stepped up my game. He had a lot of good training for me and between training with him and coach Voot (Victor O’Garro) I really increased my skills.
“I was the starting point guard for Future this year and I was eager to show my skills. For me the season was like practice for next year. Most of my team-mates are 18 already so I feel like I’m warming up.
“It’s not a given I’ll be back with Future because of most of the team leaving due to age. But I certainly intend to play next year and for a team that has a shot at the championship.
“Looking back towards the end of the season we stepped up with our defence. Rashaad (Powery-Saunds) was a real difference-maker and a great shot blocker. (Jordan) Cacho, Keon (Bodden) and Cleve (Stewart) were all really good players and they all came up big for us. We definitely had the talent.
“But we didn’t show it against the Shockwaves, who were a new team for the playoffs. From hockey I knew the playoffs is a completely different story from the rest of the season so if you underestimate the team you will lose.”
Collin Anglin meanwhile is no stranger to the U19 competition after putting in over a decade in basketball. The West Bay native, who was the 2010 Young Caymanian Leadership Award winner, states Galbraith stood out on the team.
“Brad was a tremendous addition to our team this year because he really nailed down the point guard spot for us,” Anglin said. “Point guard was one position I was concerned with because most of my players are scorers. Brad is a true point guard and has good leadership ability. He could get instructions and ensure they’re carried out.
“The point guard is a general on the court and Brad is the type of player all coaches want. Tremendous responsibility is placed on the point guard and Brad was huge for us.”
The Wolves would end up claiming their first U19 championship after taking down the Shockwaves in the title match. A number of players had stellar offensive showings like Raheim Robinson and Peter Grant. Galbraith, who turns 18 this month, states the biggest reason why the Wolves won was due to their defence.
“They were a really good team because they had one of the best defences. It’s a hard style of defence that not many teams had.”
For all his ability and knowledge in basketball, Galbraith readily states his first love is hockey. With a national roller hockey championship to his name already, clearly the centre is talented with skates on.
“I used to be on the Bodden Town U17 team that won two championships. I was playing football until I switched over to basketball last year. But definitely hockey is my favourite. I’ve been playing hockey in a league since I was five years-old.
“I was born and bred in hockey. I could skate right after I could walk and I practiced skating in my backyard in Ontario.
“Last year I captained the Barracudas to their first finals victory. It was outstanding. After that I felt like I had to step up my game (captain Reilly Novak left the island leaving Galbraith in charge of grown men like Cherry Cup hero Eric Lacasse).
“In the first season last year I was 17th in points while in the second season I had 33 points (second in the league). What’s crazy is I missed my first game of the season with a fractured wrist on my right hand (that I suffered while training for basketball).”
Galbraith, who has a 16 year-old sister named Emily Galbraith, will soon lace up his skates again. The roller hockey league gets going later on this month and he is expected to serve as a referee for matches. In spite of those hockey commitments Galbraith is most determined to claim a basketball title.
“Next year I want to win a championship. In football I have a title, I got one in hockey and basketball is the one left.
“I might join division two of the men’s league this year. But my main goal is to get better and hopefully go off to school for basketball. Maybe I might go away for hockey but I want to keep my options open.”
Arguably the legacy of Galbraith’s story may be as a promotion of local sports. In spite of limited facilities and resources Cayman has a diverse enough sports scene to incorporate all residents, whether Caymanian or expatriate. That fact is not lost on Anglin, who doubles as the Director of the Department of Youth and Sports.
“I always love to see local athletes involved in multiple sports. I was an athlete in the past who did that.
“I know it takes tremendous time management to handle the different sports. I understand that and encourage that for all young people in these islands so that they can be heavily involved in sports.
“I think Brad’s story is an endorsement for Cayman sports. Kids like Brad can come here and play so many sports. Most people don’t know that there are so much positive activities here.
“If you put the effort in as a child or an adult you can find the various sports programmes on island. There is a vast array of sports here and Cayman will always expand while looking for more opportunities.”