Rise in prize money for DMW Hockey Festival

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By Avenash Ramzan

Teams in this year’s Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor Hockey Festival will have more reasons to push themselves to the max, as the organisers have significantly increased the prize package for the two main categories.

Hosted for the 12th consecutive year, and sanctioned by the Guyana Hockey Board- the local governing body for the sport, the tournament will be played on November 24-27 at the National Gymnasium, Mandela Avenue, Georgetown.

As has been the case over the last 11 years, the tournament will once again attract top teams from the Caribbean and North America, and will feature rivalry in the Men’s, Women’s and Veterans categories.

Apart from a significant rise in the top prize of the Men’s and Women’s competition, from US$1,000 to US$3,000, the organisers also plan to stream the games live so as to attract other countries to come onboard in the future.

According to president of the Guyana Hockey Board, Philip Fernandes, Jamaica and Curacao, who have never competed in the tournament, expressed an interest and they could make their debut in the not too distant future.

Fernandes, who is also the tournament coordinator, said the ultimate aim is to attract more countries, thus the move to have the games streamed globally through social media and the Pan American Hockey Federation’s website.

In the Men’s segment, there will be rivalry among Toronto Hockey Club of Canada, Queens Park Hockey Club of Trinidad, newcomers Ball Washers of USA, and local sides Pepsi Hikers, Old Fort and Bounty GCC.

On the Women’s side, Toronto Academy will trade skills with the local teams, while in the Veterans division, Carib, Malvern, Ball Washers and Queens Park will match sticks.

Fernandes said, “We have therefore received firm confirmation from a total of eight overseas teams from Trinidad, Canada and the USA this year.  This coupled with our local invited teams make the tournament comprise of a total of 17 teams with time remaining for a few more uncertainties to confirm.  We have once again invited Pan American Hockey Federation Umpire’s Manager, Ms. Susie Gomes to perform this task and ensure that the festival is officiated at the highest level available.  The tournament will utilise the national gymnasium which has proven to have a surface very conducive to good indoor hockey.” 

In order to maintain a high standard of play and also lure other nations to compete in the future festivals, the organisers have made a conscious effort to increase the prize money.

“Cash prizes and trophies will once again be awarded to the winners and runners-up in the male and female and veteran categories.  The winning teams in both male and female tournaments will each receive US$3,000, while the runners-up will cart off US$500.  The winner of the veteran tournament will receive US$500 with the second place teams receiving incentive prizes,” Fernandes said at the launch on Tuesday.

The tournament, which is considered the premier activity on the local hockey calendar, has again received corporate backing from platinum sponsor Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), through its Diamond Mineral Water brand, and gold sponsor Ansa McAl Trading, under its Carib Beer brand.

Larry Wills (DDL) and Robert Hiscock (Ansa McAl) were on hand to represent their places of employ.

“It’s been a pleasure working with the Guyana Hockey Board. We really like the work they have done in executing the tournament over the years. I’m pretty sure this year would be no different, and we’re going to continue to support them with this Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor Hockey tournament. As we look forward to this tournament, I want to ask persons out there- the supporters of hockey, those who are also none supporters- to come out and support this tournament,” Wills told the gathering.

Hiscock stated, “We as a company see sports as an integral part of the development of the country, and we see hockey as something that’s no different, which is why I can sit here proudly today and say Carib is incredibly happy t o be onboard with yet another sporting event. In this instance, we’re sponsoring the Veterans competition, which I’ve been told this morning is probably one of the more exciting aspect of the tournament.”

The Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor Hockey Festival is the longest running indoor hockey tournament in the region.

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