The C.I. Kings Youth Hockey travel hockey programme which began in June of 2010 celebrated its one-year anniversary over the weekend of June 17-19th by attending the Sunshine State Games in Ft. Myers, Florida. The Sunshine State Games, now in its fourth decade of competition, is the nation’s oldest State Games and is Florida’s largest and longest standing multi-sport festival. The mission of the Games is to provide quality competition for Florida’s amateur athletes of all ages and skill levels. This year the tournament opened it’s doors to international competition, and 17 players from the Logic Youth Roller Hockey League represented the Cayman Islands. The two teams stunned fans and competitors alike, elevating their international standard; with the 10U team coming home with Gold medal, and the 12U squad claiming the runners-up title in their division.
Colleen Stoetzel-Singh, Team Manager of the C.I. Kings said afterwards " The C.I. Kings definately improved since their first trip to Florida. I was so impressed with every player. It's such a change from the Saturday games. It was evident the 12U team has matured through the past year. The players were analyzing the opposing eams and talking about best strategies to make better plays. They became a team!
I was also extremly impressed with the sportsmanship of both our teams. No matter what the score, what play just happened, the kids remained positive and supported each other. These kids just wanted to play!"
Stephen Rodriguez, Vice-President of the Florida Sports Foundation commended the Cayman Islands team saying “We would like to congratulate the CI Kings for winning the 10U Gold division at the Sunshine State Games. This the first year the Sunshine State Games has opened participation to competitors from outside the U.S., which has traditionally been for Floridians only. We were excited to have teams representing the Cayman Islands in the Sunshine State Games, supporting our new international initiative. We hope to welcome the CI Kings back next year to our Sunshine State Games.”
Bob Boucher, tournament director of this year’s Sunshine State Tournament, commented after the event “The Cayman Islands organization was well represented this weekend, on and off the rink. Life is about improving your skill and getting better each time you play. The 12U team had some tough competition in round robin play. They came up against some teams that have been together for years. There was no quit in them though. They were extremely competitive in the games against teams closer to their skill level. They came to play hard every game, and there was improvement during the entire tournament. The Cayman Islands 12U team lost 5-3 in the Silver Finals by the same team that beat them 8-1 in round robin play. The 10U team won the Gold Championship against The Miny-Muffins 5-3. The Mini-Muffins had gone undefeated during round robin play. It was not a fluke in the finals; The 10U team was the better team in the Championship Game.
Both teams from the CI represented their country and parents well. This was the beginning of some lasting relationships formed by kids and parents from CI and the Florida teams. The parents should be proud of not only the hockey performance, but also of the kids/parents behavior. They earned a lot of respect on and off the rink. ECHO looks forward to having the CI teams compete in other events. Thank You to Coach Ray and Mrs. Coach Ray.
Ray Singh, Team Coach commented on both of the C.I. Kings Teams. “This weekend was a blast for our kids. They put the hard work in the past five months, and it paid off in the Ft. Myers. We were an underdog team on opening night, but by the end of or the weekend our kids were taking home medals and trophies. The 12U played great against their own divisional teams. We played Gold Medal “Team X” team back in October, and they were a very tough match then. Our squad rebounded from an 8 – 2 loss in our opener against them, nearly clinching a Gold Medal in the finals. The Team X Goaltender played fantastic in the finals, but we know what we need to do to beat them in the future.
The 10U, can proudly call themselves “Florida State Champions”. The individual efforts the kids put in, in the Championship Game were fantastic, and they truly came together as a team throughout the tournament. Several factors contributed to the team’s success. The players were a little more acclimated to the tournament style of play, and were able to quickly get the butterflies out of their systems after opening night. The leadership of Ethan Hersant, Jamie Williams and Ryan Lloyd on the court carried the rest of the team in the finals. Several very key defensive plays by Hunter Wilkom, Danny Link and Josh McCartney coupled with the offensive efforts of Alex Jones and Matthew Wilkins generated many of our scoring opportunities.
The Kings were fortunate to use a Florida based goaltender in the tournament, Nick Sanfillipo, who was credited with several key saves in the Gold Medal Game. Nick’s Father Gary Sanfillipo said “Watching a team achieve a goal for the first time is an incredible thing. We were fortunate to be part of the team when it happened. The boys were all so nice and well mannered, and Nicholas had a great time playing with them. They never gave up and they all worked so hard, I can't wait to see the boys again at Disney.”
Singh also added “The organizers and referees were extraordinary, and not enough can be said about the sportsmanship of the other teams and coaches throughout the tournament. This was a great story-book weekend, and we can only hope to have the same success in future tournaments”.
C.I. Kings June 2011 lineup:
Players: Alex Agemian, Andrew Antonysraj, Tynan Klein, Ben Williams, Alex Wilkins, Ethan Hersant, Graeme Hill, Mack Moser, Jacob Walters, Nicole Whittaker, Ryan Lloyd, Jamie Williams, Danny Link, Hunter Wilkom, Matthew Wilkins, Joshua McCartney, Alex Jones, Gari Sanfilippo (U.S.A.),
Coach: Ray Singh,
Team Organizer: Colleen Stoetzel-Singh.
Unable to travel on the trip were Player Matt Somerville, and Coach Jean-Louis Beaudet.