The Barbados Hockey League was started in 1999 by four homesick Canadians; David Meechan, Terry Hesp, Andy Gallagher and Matt MacKay.
Weary of the traditional expat activity of drinking beer and complaining about the government, they longed for more. They wanted excitement - danger! Or, at least the possibility for injury that was lacking in their lives (unless you want to count falling off a stool at Bert's Bar or Charley's).
Initially, the organization was a modest one. Barbados customs provided our first support; allowing David Meechan to bring in twelve hockey sticks duty-free (mostly because they couldn't find them in the book and so couldn't figure out how much to charge). Terry Hesp was so excited that he even met Dave at the airport; leaping on Dave's wife Marjory as she stood on the curb with the elated cry "I know what those are for!" Actually, Terry was picking up his wife from a Puerto Rican shopping trip but the warm welcome was appreciated just the same - well by Dave anyway. Marjory had never met him before and was quite terrified at being accosted by a strange wild person.
Our first game took place in the parking lot of the Barbados Aquatic Center; a dark and rather foreboding place with a noticeable pitch giving one side a distinct advantage. Since we technically didn't really have permission to be lurking around in dark parking lots with large sticks, the early success of our endeavor led to problems especially when an overly enthusiastic slapshot by Brendan Powers took out one of the window slats in the Aquatic Centre. They also objected to the consumption of beer in a public place. We soon came to the attention of security who politely but firmly asked us to move along; choosing not to believe our protestations of innocence when accused of outdoor beer drinking (probably the giant Labatt's Blue beer cooler gave us away).
Ever resourceful, the BHL got permission to play in the car park of Big B's Supermarket where the league made its home for many years.
Along the way something happened to the BHL. It was slow to develop but eventually gained speed turning the entire league upside down. We were no longer just a bunch of expats playing hockey Tuesday nights and drinking lots of beer but instead we were international ball hockey competitors traveling the Caribbean in search of Ball Hockey glory.
In 2005 the BHL sent a team of misfits to the 2nd Annual Caribbean Cup tournament held in the Cayman Islands. Loaded with confidence and perhaps some expectations of reliving some of their youthful championship experiences off went a team of 12 to compete for the championship. Little did we know what would hit us in Cayman? Like a freight train they hit us and hit us and hit us. Team Barbados put up a gutsy effort but in the end could only grab the consolation championship.
Upon the team's return the BHL would never be the same again. In fact, the acronym BHL could no longer be used (apparently Bank Holdings Limited has a bit of say in this matter) so the league was reborn as the Barbados Ball Hockey League, a newly formed and registered non-profit organization.
Determined to build on the Cayman experience a group of senior (and yes they are older) members formed the new league and have put in place a structure which should survive these members and help build Barbados Ball Hockey for years to come.
In 2006, the BBHL changed venues once again moving to the Sir Garfield Sober's Gymnasium where you can find plenty of action on Thursday nights at 8:30 pm.Back to Top