Sports Minister Darryl Smith has promised to assist the Trinidad and Tobago men’s hockey team as they turn their focus towards the 2018 Indoor Hockey World Cup in Berlin, Germany.
At the 2017 Indoor Pan Am Hockey Cup in Georgetown, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago men’s team finished the round-robin stage with a 100-percent record – defeating Argentina 5-2 (last Monday), hosts Guyana 4-0 (last Tuesday), Barbados 8-2 (Wednesday), Mexico 13-2 (Thursday) and Canada 7-5 (Friday).
And, in the title match on Saturday, the TT squad hammered the Argentines 7-0 to book their tickets to the World Cup.
Both the national men’s and women’s teams returned home from Guyana yesterday, and were treated to a brief welcome reception at the VIP Lounge, Piarco International Airport.
The women’s team finished fifth overall, as the United States earned a berth at Germany, but the spotlight was on the men’s team who reached the Indoor World Cup for just the second time.
According to Smith, “I’ve been working with hockey as close as possible. (TT Hockey Board president Douglas) Camacho and I speak on an almost daily basis.”
Smith admitted difficulty with regards to the importation of a new astro-turf from the United States for the National Hockey Centre in Tacarigua.
However, he stated, “One of the things we want to look at is getting an indoor facility. It cannot be a Hockey Centre if it doesn’t truly represent the two aspects of the game. I know we have the (Eastern Regional Indoor Sports Arena) but that is heavily used with other sports.”
The Minister said, “It’s tough times now, resources are limited so we have to ensure that we get the (value) for our buck. But we’re here to support and work with you all.
“Expect a lot of people to jump on board with you all,” he added. “We’re pushing for corporate Trinidad and Tobago to come on board and assist these young men, and young women.”
Solomon Eccles, TT men’s captain, acknowledged that there were mixed feelings within the camp as they were pleased with the overall win but were all mourning the death of Winston Govia, father of team coach Raphael Govia
“The feeling for us right now is ecstatic because we went to a tournament and (finished) undefeated. It was also a hard time for us because, in the middle of that tournament, our coach’s father died. It’s emotional for me. But we had a lot of support from Trinidad and Tobago. Everyday was looking on the papers, on the internet and we saw a lot of real positive stuff. It helped us through the tournament.”
There are plans to have the team engage in a couple overseas tours, in preparation for the Indoor World Cup.
Also speaking at the event were national women’s team skipper Alanna Lewis and Roger St Rose, first vice-president of the Trinidad and Tobago Hockey Board (TTHB).