Diamond Mineral Water Indoor Hockey gets underway on Thursday evening

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On the evening of Thursday December 1, the Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor Hockey Festival will bully-off for the 16th time.

The festival was born from the idea of Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira, who upon visiting Guyana in 2003, met with executives of the Guyana Hockey Board and encouraged them to stage an annual international hockey festival.

‘Reds’, being a huge proponent of Sports Tourism, thought that the Guyanese sporting bodies needed to do more to attract foreign athletes to these shores.

The Guyana Hockey Board took up the challenge and secured the volunteer services of former national hockey players, Troy Hugh Peters, to be the Tournament Coordinator.

Eighteen years later, the Festival has grown into one of the premiere indoor hockey events in the region and attracts top club teams and players from the Pan American region.

Old Fort’s Omar Hopkinson on the attack against Queens Park in 2019

Over the years the festival has had its challenges and missed years due to renovations at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in 2012 and then again during the restrictive COVID-19 times.

This year the mighty Queens Park male contingent returns to compete in the Men’s Veteran Over-35s and the Guinness Masters Over-45s divisions.

The Over-35s will be the first foreign side on show as they take on the Antonio’s Hickers at 19:30h on the opening night.

Trinidad Police make their debut this year with a large male and female contingent. The TT Police men will be on show for the final match of the evening on Thursday as they take on the recent GTT National Indoor Champions, Bounty GCC.

The police ladies similarly will face local national champs the GBTI GCC Tigers in the TLC Ladies division at 20:10h. The tournament will feature 18 teams, including six from overseas.

Young national midfielder, Sarah Klautky of the GBTI GCC Tigers, being guarded by Amanda George of George United at the last tournament in 2019

In addition, four players from Canada and two from the USA will be on show as guest players among the local sides, adding to the international flare of the festival.

Diamond Mineral Water has been the mainstay of the festival and has been the title sponsor since its inception in 2004.

Local freight-forwarding company, TLC Guyana Inc., which is the sponsor of the women’s division, is new to the sport locally, while Guinness, more popular with football, has been the welcome sponsor of the Masters division.

All matches are being played at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall and begin at 18:00h on December 1, 15:00h on December 2, 13:00h on December 3 and 11:00h on December 4.

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