Evan Ellbogen was brought in from Montreal this year to rejuvenate youth hockey.
With one season officially under his belt, the new Kings Sports Center sports director is confident he has made positive steps toward establishing hockey in the minds of all Cayman’s youth.
“I believe we have had a very strong season, in terms of player enjoyment and their increased level of play,” Ellbogen said. “The children are excited to get onto the rink each practice and are always anticipating lacing up the skates for Saturday games. Each division saw teams that proved to be more cohesive and dominant, which forced other teams to work harder. As a coach, it’s great to see the players push themselves and those around them. That’s how you build a stronger league and make better athletes. I aim to build upon 2013’s success.”
The Concordia University grad saw three age groups in action for the fall edition of the national youth league at Kings. The eight and under division features a pair of Kings select teams facing PwC with Andy Hastings topping the charts with 83 goals while Connor Finch has 48 goals and a group-best 23 assists.
In the 10U segment, the Ernst and Young Eagles flew to the regular season crown behind Justin Hastings, who was top scorer with 43 goals, while teammate Jayden Mannisto had a group-best 19 assists. The 14U category featured KPMG, Hudson Hawks and Conyers. Ethan Finlason of the Hawks set the pace with 35 goals while the assists crown is shared by Finlason’s teammate Adam Stainrod and KPMG’s Wyatt Hope as both boys had 16 assists.
Prior to returning to Canada for the holidays, Ellbogen said the focus in the coming weeks will be on an annual street tournament and international competitions.
“I’m happy to announce that next season will be longer than the 2013 campaign. The Spring 2014 season will include camps and events to raise public awareness of our wonderful sport at Kings. January 2014 will include the Annual Street Hockey Tournament at Camana Bay. This event is an amazing event where our players get to play outside and play along with a teammate who is not currently playing in our youth league. A portion of the proceeds will go to Feed Our Future, which fights childhood hunger in the Cayman Islands.
“We will also be holding tryouts in the New Year for an inline hockey team to play in international tournaments. We aim to bring a team from each of our age groups to travel in April and June/July.”