Chairman of the Hockey Festival Committee, Kofi Hinds, believes the recently concluded Barbados International Hockey Festival was a much enjoyable experience on and off the field for the fans this year.
He was speaking on the final day of the competition which saw New York Islanders clinch the women’s final 4-0 against Big Apple, while men’s winners Georgetown Cricket Club overcame the Islanders 3-2 on a penalty shootout after drawing 2-2 in full time.
“Overall I think we have had a fantastic seven days of competition and we have had some fantastic social events. I think it was the festival everyone knows and loves so I really have no complaints,” Hinds said.
The belief around the festival was that the improved experience, when compared to last year’s event, owed much to greater team participation this time around as the number of competitors returned to the pre-COVID levels.
“We had more participation this year from our local teams and from visitors which certainly enhanced the quality of the festival. It brought back the atmosphere, camaraderie, and friendship against the backdrop of hockey. I think having more teams in general made it a better experience for everyone,” the chairman said.
There were visiting teams from Guyana, United Kingdom and United States of America.
When asked how the Barbados Hockey Federation (BHF) could make the 39th festival, affectionately known as “Banks Festival” bigger and better, Hinds revealed that plans were already being discussed internally.
“Improving the festival (on and off the field) involves marketing and use of our partners, particularly on the international side. It’s up to engaging partners like the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) to really push the message out there. They are on board again and we’re happy to have them and utilise their expertise in spreading the message abroad,” he said.
“I think our local channels and talent could help market the festival a bit more locally and start that process of marketing the festival a little bit earlier,” he added.
Hinds, who also serves as the secretary of the BHF, concluded by saying: “We have had a number of conversations with fans and visiting teams on some of the things we could try to do to make it even bigger and better. There have been talks of having a Jouvert or a street party or bringing live performances and bands back to the venue. There is a good set of ideas that we’ve been looking into and once we finish the post mortem of this year’s festival, we’ll look into what we can include next year on the social side.”
The mixed title was won by Sentry Insurance Brokers Rockets who claimed a 2-0 win over visiting side Hikers. UWI Blackbirds crowned their first year in the Masters Division with the title as a penalty corner goal by Kris Holder sealed a 1-0 win over All Stars. (JC)