A Grand Time on Cayman Island!
By Daryn Goodwin
Dennis Passchier and I have been talking for two years about the possibility of doing a NARCh Clinic on Cayman Island. After months of talking and planning we were finally able to make it happen last week.
The teams from Cayman love NARCh and play in the FINALS every year, as well as multiple regional qualifiers. 8s, 10s, 12s, and likely 14s will be traveling this year to the Irvine Qualifier, Snellville Qualifier, and the NARCh FINALS in Mississauga. In recent years they’ve had some great success at each NARCh Tournament they’ve played in, medaling at regionals as well as winning a few championships at the FINALS.
Evan Ellbogen really got the parents and kids motivated to play at NARCh years ago. Like many families in the Cayman Program, Evan and Dennis are both Canadian and grew up playing in Vancouver. Evan has since moved back to Canada to finish his degree and Dennis has continued to do a great job, in charge of not only the travel teams, but also all hockey programing at Kings Sports Centre.
I’ve been here once before about 15 years ago but only for a half day really. My wife and I were on a cruise ship and took one of the cattle boats to shore and just laid on the beach, so I really didn’t get to experience the island.
Itan Chavira joined me to assist with the camp. From the minute we arrived at the airport until we departed, Dennis was an unbelievable host and tour guide. It’s not a huge island, approximately 60k residence, so most locals with similar interests know each other. We were treated with friendly hospitality all over the island, as most people we ran into were friends with Dennis. Away from the rink we fished, snorkeled, played sauce hockey on the beach, and had our share of adult beverages.
Not really knowing what to expect with a facility on a small island, we were very impressed with Kings Sports Centre. The floor surface is on the smaller side, but the construction of the rink is great. Similar to Silver Creek Sportsplex in San Jose, one sideboard is glass from the floor and the surface is a very fast Ice Court. The Centre also houses a nice gym upstairs that overlooks the rink, a 4-lane bowling alley, rock climbing, and more. Pretty awesome place.
At the rink we put in 10 hours over 3 days working with two groups. The first group comprised of younger house players and some beginner travel players. The second group was most of the kids that make up the teams that I’ve seen at NARCh. It was great to be able to hang out with the kids and get to know them better. They really only know me as the guy who runs NARCh and most haven’t had the opportunity to see Itan play.
The time on the rink flew by! I think the kids and parents enjoyed the experience as much as we enjoyed being there. Hopefully we can come back next year and do it again.
As I’m flying home and reflecting on the week, I can’t help but think about how lucky I am for making a living in roller hockey. NARCh has done so much for so many and has once again taken me to a beautiful place with great people that I’d never experience otherwise.
I’m also blown away with the job Dennis Passchier has done with his rink and programming. He’s got such an upbeat and positive outlook and is a true motivator and ambassador for our sport. There are currently over 200 players in his leagues, 125 youth and roughly 80 men. Most impressive, 22 of the kids are 6u and 40 of them are 8u!
Thank you to everyone who made this opportunity possible and I’m excited to see many of you in Irvine in a few months!
To view photos from the camp: NARCh Cayman Clinic!