– by Vic Murphy – Belize welcomed two Canadian Hockey Teams who travelled from Toronto on Wednesday, November 28, 2018, to take part in the 2nd annual Coconut Cup Tournament hosted by the San Pedro Buccaneers hockey team. A warm welcome at San Pedro Air Terminal was the order of the day when the Town Boards Sports Representative, Kent Gaboural (fondly known as Bob) presented the visitors with gift bags and ice cold rum punch.
Two days of settling in (with a drink or two) saw the commencement of the Tournament late Friday afternoon. The games were opened by children from the Island Academy School singing the Canadian National Anthem immediately followed by children from New Horizons School singing the Belize National Anthem in different languages including Garifuna. Both renditions were superb and brought a lump to ones throat.
There were four teams in the tournament, two from Withrow Park Hockey Club in Toronto and two from San Pedro Town consisting of roughly a 50/50 mix of Local Belizean and expats now resident on Ambergris Caye. The Canadians clearly were a force to be contended with having been in several tournaments including four International events within the past 12 months (all of which they won!), the visitors did not disappoint, winning both of their first two games convincingly.
Saturday, December 1, saw the second and final day of play at the San Pedro High School Auditorium. This time the event was opened with the SPHS band playing the Belize National Anthem as well as the Island Academy. Again the renditions were very impressive. A ‘round robin’ of games occurred throughout the day with varying scores culminating in a decision to select the best of the Canadians verses the best of the Buccaneers. Winner takes all!
It was brutal with a determined effort by both sides in this fiercely contested rivalry. The atmosphere was electric as both sides battled with both teams scoring in succession. But there could only be one winner and sadly for the Buccaneers the visiting Canadians continued their winning streak and in doing so retained the coveted Coconut Cup.
The presentation was made by the Buccaneers Coach Paul DuVille amid rapturous applause from all present. So ended the dreams of the Buccaneers…….until next year! Our guests along with several members of the Buccaneers spent the last day of their visit relaxing on a boating trip to the west of Ambergris Caye in the sun and on the sandbanks.
The Tournament was a roaring success made possible by all those participating in various roles both on and off the court, and by those who supported the event financially and otherwise. Our thanks go to the RC Elementary School who allowed us to use their facilities to play and practice throughout the year and the San Pedro High School for permitting us to use their auditorium for the event. Special thanks goes to Rob Burrows from Crazy Canucks Bar for giving up his time to perform Master of Ceremonies, as ever he gave a sterling performance. The San Pedro Town Board were once more extremely supportive in helping to make the event happen and a big shout out to the children and staff of the New Horizons School, the Island Academy children and staff particularly teacher Claire who was ably supported and encouraged by Shirley Arnold in teaching the Canadian National Anthem. The children of the San Pedro High School playing their various instruments were very good led by their music teacher Mr Alex.
I would also like to express our thanks to Dan and Eiden from Reef Radio (TV) for giving us the air time to promote the event events like these have many financial impacts including the purchase and replacement of equipment, all of which are used freely throughout the year by local children and adults alike. Often it has been necessary to purchase playing shoes for those wishing to play but unable to afford the necessary footwear. The same applies to team shirts and so the list goes on.
It is only because of the very generous support of local businesses that the San Pedro Buccaneers were able to put this Tournament together for the benefit of the whole community. Our thanks to the following for their generosity: Lily’s Treasure Chest Restaurant & Bar, Wayo’s Beach Bar, Caribbean Villas, Sandbar Beachfront Hostel & Restaurant, Caye Casa Boutique Hotel, Lola’s Bar & Grill, The Truck Stop, Paco’s Tiki Bar, Island Dream Tours (YOLO), Estel’s Dine by the Sea, Caye Coffee roasting company, Belikin (Bowen & Bowen), Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar, Pirates Pizza, The Yacht Club and Sidelines Island Pub. The final thank you goes to all the spectators who came out to support, cheer and applaud. It made for a fantastic atmosphere.
The intention is to grow this Tournament year on year with more teams entering from different Countries. If anyone would like to join the San Pedro Buccaneers (it is free) and enjoy the social camaraderie whilst keeping fit as well as having fun, just look on facebook and search for ‘Hockey Night in San Pedro’. Just ask to join the group and we will happily give you the details.