About the Bermuda Ball Hockey Association
Ball hockey in Bermuda started in the 1980’s by a loosely knit group of die-hard Canadian hockey fans. Over the years guys would get together Saturday mornings to play pick-up hockey at an old converted outdoor roller-skating rink. The number of players on the Island had grown and in the late 1990’s the Bermuda Ball Hockey Association was officially formed. It was around that time that the first semi-annual ball hockey tournaments were organized in Bermuda, called the prestigious Robin Hood Cup (RHC). As the competition level for the RHC tournaments grew, the league was moved to a gymnasium, as the weather at the outdoor rink was too unpredictable. The BAA gym served as the home for the league for years while the BBHA tried to get the approval from the various governing bodies to redevelop the outdoor roller-skating rink. The outdoor rink was still used for the youth inline hockey program which has had ~100 children enrolled, the majority being Bermudians.
In April of 2008, Tom MacNeil, the President of the Bermuda Youth Inline Hockey League, suffered a massive heart attack while participating in one of the inline hockey scrimmages at the old rink and passed away. Tom was heavily involved with various youth sports leagues around the island and had dreamed of having a proper facility for the kids/adult hockey leagues to help raise awareness of the growing sport in Bermuda. After Tom’s sudden passing there was a very successful fundraising campaign, which not only raised the funds required to do the renovations, but also raised awareness about the program. Finally, after years of paper work/permits and meetings, on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 the BBHA broke ground for the expansion of a new facility.
The new rink is 165 feet by 80 feet, a significant increase from the previous 120 feet by 65 feet rink. The new facility features fiberglass dasher boards (the dangerous steel pipe that went around the inside of the wall of the previous rink was removed as part of the expansion). The rink features 4 ft galvanized chain link fence above the boards around the perimeter of the rink and 8 ft galvanized chain link fence along the end boards. On November 24th, 2012 the leagues celebrated the reopening of the rink. Since reopening the rink, the new facility has withstood multiple hurricanes that were a direct hit to the island with only damage to the lighting.
The BBHA has uses this world-class facility to assist with the development of Bermuda Ball Hockey Association’s National team, which represents Bermuda in the ISBHF events worldwide (International Street and Ball Hockey Federation). It didn’t take long for the new facility to pay off, just over 6 months since the reopening, Bermuda won the Gold medal in pool B of the ISBHF 2013 World championships in St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, a huge part of the success of this tournament was having access to the new rink. After winning the Gold medal in pool B in 2013, Bermuda entered the A pool in the ISBHF 2015 World Championships in Zug Switzerland where they faced off against the best of the best in the sport. The BBHA has been a long time member of the ISBHF and once again attended the world championships June, 2017 in the host city of Pardubice, Czech Republic.
The BBHA is looking forward to hosting the 2018 ISBHF World Masters Championships in September 2018 and attending the 2019 ISBHF World Championships in Slovakia.