Spurred on by enthusiastic parents, the Cayman Roller Hockey travel team skated away with the trophies and hearts of those watching the Echo Travel Lite B Level Coastal Cup in Snellville, Georgia.
With the parents chanting “Let’s go Cayman! Let’s go!” and waving the Cayman flag with gusto from the sidelines the contingent picked up victories in the Under 8 and Under 10 divisions and added silver in the under 12s.
Roller hockey programme coordinator and former King’s Sports Centre Athletics Director Ray Singh said the parental support played the role of the additional player when Cayman took to the court.
“This really was a very successful weekend and I’m convinced we brought medals home because of your boisterous support,” Singh said.
The travel team’s success came after months of preparation at the King’s Sports Centre facility with players having training sessions before attending school and even giving up Sunday mornings.
Singh said: “The hours in the rink, the drills, the dry-land training and building team togetherness paid off. It speaks of the passion and discipline of these players to stick together even when the chips were down, in order to bring pride back to the Cayman Islands.”
Playing in the peach state seemed to inspire goal scoring magician Justin Hastings who was brilliant in the Under-8 division.
Speedy on his skates and a gifted stick handler, Hastings showed goal scoring knowledge way beyond his years. He led Cayman to the top of the U-8 division at the end of the round robin stage before skating his team to victory in the championship final, a 6-4 victory over the Knuckleheads.
Goaltender Jayden Mannisto stood out as well.
The Under 10s overcame some tough games including an overtime thriller to win gold over the Predators 3-2 in the final.
In the U-12, Cayman’s junior squad brought home silver. After defeating the Lizard Kings 2-1 in the semi-finals, they faced the DSC Dragons team in the championship; but despite their best efforts the Dragons made the local lads pay for a handful of mistakes. Defensively Cayman was solid thanks mainly to Danny Link and Hunter Wilkom who limited the damage to just a 5-2 defeat.
Coach Aaron Knapik who didn’t let his crutches hinder his support of the teams and was seen hobbling behind the bench, was not surprised by the results.
Knapik said he knew of the talent the players possess; it was the way they faced and overcame challenges that impressed him the most.