Exuma resort stages world hockey first

Grand Isle Resort & Spa and the Bahamas shared an unusual world first last week when professional hockey players, decorated Olympians and hotel guests faced off in a road hockey game on the island of Farmer’s Cay.

As part of the resort’s ‘Sochi Under the Sun’ event, running from February 9- 23, the group landed on the tiny island to find sticks, nets, hockey pads and a field set up on the air strip.

The 60-acre island, with a population of just 27 Bahamians, became the site of a competitive game just metres from the turquoise ocean.

The island’s 10 school children also came out to watch the game, and even received a few hockey lessons from the professionals. The game VIPs included Canadian Olympic athletes Simon Whitfield, Blythe Hartley, Emilie Heymans and Allain Roy, as well as Zack Smith, Eric Gryba, Cody Eakin and Dennis Polonich from the National Hockey League (NHL).

The spectacle went smoothly despite the occasional aircraft landing on the Farmer’s Cay airstrip, forcing players to yell “plane” and remove the nets.

“We were so pleased to invite and entertain such an amazing group of people,” said Peter Nicholson, an owner at Grand Isle. “Events like ‘Sochi Under the Sun’ help expose incredible Exuma to the world, and we look forward to bringing these athletes back on an annual basis.”

It was a tight and spirited game between Team Blue and Team White going into the third period tied 3-3. Team Blue blew the game wide open with just five minutes left in the game, going up 4-3. They never looked back, and the game ended 5-3.

The road hockey game was perhaps the highlight in a number of sporting events at Grand Isle. One day later, the property hosted a ‘mini-Olympics’ on the beach at Emerald Bay. Olympians and NHL players led a series of events throughout the day, such as a 9am. jog, beach volleyball and swimming.

Guests from both Grand Isle and Sandals Emerald Bay participated in the events.

In between ‘mini-Olympic’ events, guests watched athletes compete in the Sochi Olympic Games from a live feed beside the pool.

Sochi Under the Sun comes to an end on February 22 when Grand Isle Resort & Spa hosts its Dinner of Champions for the athletes. Deputy Prime Minister, Philip Davis; director of sports, Tim Munnings; and Bahamian gold medalist Ramon Miller are all expected to be in attendance.


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