Kids on the ball to feed our future

Clearly, local hockey has a budding generation of enthusiasts in Cayman.

Dozens of youngsters took part in the Cayman Islands Youth Roller Hockey Club’s fourth annual 4-on-4 street hockey tournament. Last Saturday’s competition beside Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Center drew all ability levels in the 14-and-under age group to raise funds for Feed our Future Cayman.

Evan Ellbogen serves as the sports director at Kings Sports Center and helped organize the tournament. He said the event is part of building skate time for budding players.

“There needs to be more rink time in the under-14 age group,” Ellbogen said. “There’s that saying that you need 10,000 hours doing something to be a pro. The kids here are nowhere close to that. But again, it’s my goal to get more young kids in Cayman involved in hockey and to do so whilst helping out such a worthwhile charity is a win-win situation.”

Most of the tournament participants, like Ethan Finlason and Jabari Walrond, are fixtures in the Kings youth roller hockey league. However, a number of kids were introduced to hockey for the first time, and even a few adult ladies got in on the action in the “hockey mom” category.

The tournament hopes to get more residents involved in local competitions. Currently, Kings is home to an adult roller and ball hockey league. The Caribbean Creations Ball Hockey League is in action on Thursdays, with the next matches slated for Jan. 30. Round 15 of the regular season pits the 4-2-8 Deloitte Devil Rays against the 5-2-7 Barracudas at 8 p.m. before the 4-2-8 Pirates face the 11-2-1 Sharks at 9 p.m. Deloitte – the reigning champions – beat the Pirates, 2-1, last Thursday, while the Barracudas and Sharks drew, 2-2.