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New turf for start of hockey season

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

New turf for start of hockey season

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By February 2013, the start of the next hockey season, players could be back on a brand new artificial turf at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, Wildey.
That’s the hope expressed by newly elected Barbados Hockey Federation (BHF) president David Rouse yesterday during a Press briefing at the Barbados Olympic Association’s (BOA) headquarters in Wildey.
Rouse and several members of the BHF joined in welcoming Leandro Negre, president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), and Antonio Von Ondarza, president of the Pan American Hockey Federation, to Barbados.
It was Von Ondarza who announced their intention to provide the BHF with support for a new turf and said they hoped to convince the Government of Barbados to invest in the facility, describing it as money that will “come back”.
Through word of mouth and distributing pamphlets at international events, Von Ondarza said, international teams and clubs would return to Barbados and the turf would pay for itself.
He noted that having a beautiful country and great accommodation is no use without a good turf, adding the Pan American Hockey Federation would provide the expertise in picking the most appropriate surface.
Von Ondarza said he was at an International Olympic Committee meeting in Quebec, Canada, when BOA’s secretary general Erskine Simmons pushed a “note” from the WEEKEND NATION dated April 13 under his door. There was an article stating that hockey would be played on grass after more than ten years, and he immediately contacted Negre about offering assistance.
“One of the main goals we have here is to renew the carpet of the hockey pitch because it is in really bad condition. I think it is very important to start with a beautiful and nice hockey pitch as the base for any development of hockey,” Negre said.
Rouse said they had put together a committee comprising financial analysts, quantity surveyors and architects, among others, to come up with a total plan for the development of the facility.
“We don’t believe we should just look at that facility as an artificial pitch. It has to be a facility that we can encourage international competition,” he said.
The last turf cost $3 million.