Foreign invasion for DMW International Indoor Hockey Festival
This year’s Diamond Mineral Water (DMW) Indoor Hockey Festival will see a wave of top international talent gracing the shores of Guyana as teams from the USA, Canada and Trinidad all have teams entered in more than one division.
While men’s defending champs, The 6ix, from Canada are not returning this year, several of their key players will be present as members of this year’s Toronto Lions team. Among those will be last year’s Most Valuable Player in the Men’s division, Jeewan Bath, who has been a main contributor on the Canadian Men’s national indoor team for the past 10 years.
Bath also holds the record of being the most capped indoor player for Canada. The Toronto Lions boast a formidable line-up which includes four Canadian nationals, including goalkeeper Premakanthan Shankar who will also be conducting a goalkeeping clinic here in Guyana leading up to the tournament.
2013 Festival runners-up Queens Park of Trinidad returns this year in an effort to exceed that showing and cart off the trophy. The club is represented in both the Men’s and Carib over-35 divisions and will be led by former Guyanese international Jerazeno ‘Skillaxe’ Bell.
National and Under-21 captains, Daren Cowie and Jordan Reynos, both add quality to a skilful side that is a strong contender for gold.
Perennial attendees, Carib Hockey Club, will visit for the fifth straight year and have reached as close as second place in the Carib Over-35 division. Last year’s Over-35 MVP, Kern Ramsammy, one of several Ramsammy relatives on the team, will lead their charge for gold this year.
Malvern Hockey Club, who has been the overseas club with the highest attendance record, appearing in all but one year, round out the Trinidad contingent with their Over-35 side led by former Trinidad internationals, Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Gordon.
The Bal Wash Ers make their first appearance this year and compete in both the Men’s and Over-35 divisions. As their name suggests, these players originate from the Baltimore and Washington areas of the USA and are many will be first-time visitors to Guyana.
Returning with this team however is former Guyanese national, Jeremy Roberts, who makes his third appearance in the festival this year. This side is not short on experience and features several players from the USA master’s national team including former player/coach Peter Jones.
The Toronto Academy visits this year for the second time and this time around boasting a stronger lineup after being the losing finalists in 2013. Captain of the Canadian Indoor Team that went to the World Cup in Germany in 2015, Kaelan Watson, will lead the Academy.
Watson has played for the Canadian National outdoor team from 2011 to 2015. She is known as a strong defender with quick stick skills and powerful shot on net. Supporting Watson will be international teammate Angela Lancaster who has represented Canada since 2010.
Canadian-based Guyanese international Leigh Sandison adds to the powerful lineup which will prove quite a challenge for defending champions Pizza Hut GCC.
Top local sides Hikers, GCC and Old Fort are each represented in all three divisions with the Pepsi Hikers men and Pizza Hut GCC ladies being the defending champions. Matches begin on Wednesday evening, November 23, from 17:30h with all games being played at the National Gymnasium, Mandela Avenue.