A new coach hopes to create added interest in Cayman Islands hockey
Evan Ellbogen, a native of Montreal, Canada, is the new sports director at Kings Sports Center. Ellbogen, in his mid-20s, will concentrate primarily on the hockey programs currently based at Kings, with his focus being to revamp the youth ranks.
“I’ve been three weeks into the job and my biggest focus is the youth program,” Ellbogen said. “I want to set a foundation for the kids in the 3 to 14 age group, through things like the Learn To Skate program.
The idea is to develop kids as much as possible and help Cayman excel in roller hockey.
“Kings recruited me, owner Rex Ebanks is dedicated to improving and taking hockey to new levels. It’s an interesting job on the management side of things. I love it, I’m excited to get going. There are very nice people here and I’ll be doing all I can to grow the program and the popularity of the sport. I’m confident I can do that.”
Ellbogen comes to Grand Cayman after working as a CrossFit trainer in Montreal.
His hockey background is extensive, having played for Canada in the International Ice Hockey Federation in-line hockey world championship.
He also suited up for Concordia University and tackled prep school hockey in Massachusetts.
At Kings, he inherits a program with an established youth roller hockey league that previously had travel teams compete overseas. There are also adult competitions for roller and ball hockey.
Ellbogen said there are many adjustments in store to create a more robust hockey culture in Cayman.
“There’s always a lot of room for improvement with the kids league,” he said. “The biggest thing is time and the level of sessions. The kids have a great attitude for the sport and I’d like to see improvement in the skill level of local players. There’s a lot of passion now and we got to make sure we continue to grow.
“Where I’m from, hockey is part of the culture,” he added. “Almost everyone plays hockey. Here, I have to harness the passion for the game. Unless the kids are expatriates with parents who grew up with it, a lot of them aren’t exposed to it. I want to make it more accessible, especially for locals.”