Stabroek News

Guyana’s hockey on the rise – GHB president

Philip Fernandes

President of the Guyana Hockey Board (GHB), Philip Fernandes, has praised the local contingent for their outstanding performance at the recently concluded, Diamond Mineral Water Indoor Hockey Tournament.

According to Fernandes, “the results were very good for Guyana, the Guyanese teams won all three divisions,” further noting, “in fact the Trinidadian clubs that were here are very strong opposition and it really shows our clubs over the years have advanced in what they do, their hockey quality is up and I think it’s good for the country because it means you know we are getting places.”

The GHB president pointed out that there were a number of younger players coming out to participate in the competition and gave the example of players as young as 14 years old coming to the front of the tournament to which he credits the implementation of school programmes.

“Over the past two years we had really embarked on trying to develop junior hockey and we implemented a tournament at schools for under-14, under-16 and under under-19 as well and we have seen the results of that where we have young players coming in…in the women’s final on the GBTI team there were girls as young as 14 years old, they were support players, not yet major players, but you could see in two years’ time we are going to have a good crop that could add to the nationals and build hockey even more,” Fernandes was quoted as saying.

While a lot of the players were outstanding, Fernandes commented on Sarah Klautky whom he deemed as “a fantastic player” as well as Warren Williams, one who Fernandes sees as, “a special player that has a goal-scoring instinct that you can’t necessarily train for and accompanied with the skills and training he is getting he is definitely, I think, going to be a future star.”

Throughout the 14 years of competition, the participation continues to grow with the presence of overseas teams.  However, this year, Canada was not in the fold and the GHB president explained that the Canadians had a bit of a scheduling issue as they were already engaged elsewhere in a world-level game currently taking place.  He added there was some difficulty with the release of some of the Canadian players to attend as the timing was just unfortunate.

Nevertheless, Fernandes stated that he was in discussion with some of the players who were here as guest players for other clubs and indicated that they will be bringing their respective teams next year to contend for the title.

He also disclosed that he was also in communication with a former Canadian national player, Jonathan Roberts, who is in the United States and has gotten positive feedback on a women’s team to attend the tournament next year.