This September, Canada will aim to defend its title as the International Street and Ball Hockey Federation (ISBHF) Masters Women’s World Ball Hockey Champions and win the gold medal for a third time in a row.
The 2018 tournament, which is the third ISBHF Masters World Ball Hockey Championship to have a women’s division (for women ages 35 and older), will take place in Bermuda. The previous two tournaments took place in 2014 in Tampa Bay and in 2016 in Banff.
Keeley Prockiw was one of the athletes on the 2016 gold medal winning team.
“Beating the US in the finals was pretty crazy,” the Alberta goaltender said. “I never thought ball hockey would take me to where I’ve been.”
This year the Masters World Ball Hockey Championships will be contested in Bermuda in an environment quite different from that of the last two tournaments in Canada and the United States. The rink itself is mesmerizing.
“You would never think that that would be a place where there actually was hockey itself in general,” said Colleen Gamache, who will be making her Canadian national team debut in September. “[The rink is] amazing, beautiful, outside along the ocean with the turquoise sea there and everything.”
The tournament will be taking place September 25 to 30 at the Bermuda Hockey Rink, which is located in the oceanside Admiralty House Park.
“It’s pretty crazy,” said Prockiw. “Just talking to people about it, their minds are kind of blown that that’s where I’m going to play.”
Accompanying the picturesque scenery surrounding the rink is the warm and humid weather, with temperatures sitting in the high twenties in Bermuda in September.
“Once we start training [in Bermuda] we’re going to have to get used to thinking about the heat, the humidity with all that running,” said Gamache.
The Canadian team is organized by the Canadian Ball Hockey Association (CBHA), the organization that scouted and asked players like Prockiw and Gamache to join the Canadian Women’s Masters team after seeing them play in national competitions.
Both Prockiw and Gamache come from Edmonton, which has a large women’s ball hockey community, and had an ice hockey background (and for Gamache, ringette as well) prior to taking up ball hockey.
“It’s an amazing sport [in terms of] teamwork,” said Gamache, a right winger who played ice hockey for MacEwan University. “The endurance and cardio that you get from it is 10 times more than ice hockey… There’s just so many different levels of play as well, so if you’re worried about it being too competitive there’s always a place for you somewhere.”
Canada will face teams like the United States and Slovakia in Bermuda over five day of competition, which are sure to be memorable for the athletes competing.
“I’m bringing my family as well,” said Gamache, who is looking forward to sharing the experience with them. “I also coach my son in ball hockey and ice hockey, he’s 13 and he’ll be coming along. So it should be good all around."
More information can be found at http://bermudahockey.com/
Keeley Prockiw will be taking over the Women’s Hockey Life Instagram account (@womenshockeylife) while in Bermuda for the 2018 ISBHF Masters World Ball Hockey Championships! Stay tuned for more information.
Photos courtesy of Keeley Prockiw and Colleen Gamache.