Sunday, September 5, 2010

Former Sault Athlete Helps Earn Medal In Underwater Hockey

Underwater HockeyImage via Wikipedia

Former Sault residents who recently returned from the World Underwater Hockey Championships in Columbia last week helped the Canadian team place third.

Kimberly Grattan recently moved to the Ottawa area but grew up in the Sault and played for years with the local Sault Tridents Underwater Hockey Team. Kim had just been in the Sault the week before going to the World Championships in order to get some last minute training / scrimmaging with her old teammates.

Kim Grattan played on behalf of the Canadian Women’s Team which earned third place at the end of the tournament; the championships ran from August 8 – 15th in Medellin, Colombia. These girls played some very stiff competition and played well for Canada. The women played well throughout the round robin portion of the tournament. The women initially lost 6-2 in a close match to the U.S. women’s team at the very start of the tournament but rallied back afterwards. The U.S. Women’s team beat the Colombian Elite team by one goal followed a few games later by the Canadian Women’s team beating the Colombian Elite team 3-1. At the end of the round robin, the girls had a 5-1 record going into the gold medal round.

The girls faced off against the Colombian Elite team for the gold but unfortunately lost out in a tight 3-2 match. This left Canada playing for the bronze medal round as the Colombian Women’s Elite team ended up beating out the U.S. Women’s team for gold and silver respectively. The girls played off against Team Orca, a second Colombian women’s team, for third and ended this game with a final score of 10-0, securing the bronze medal. One of Kim Grattan’s teammates, Amy Cannon, picked up a trophy for most goals scored in the tournament by a female player – 34 in total.

This is Kim’s first kick at the world circuit but she has played for the last few years on the National and Provincial levels. Kim has a strong aquatic background competing on a variety of levels and competitions. Kim’s brother Dave Grattan also played for years with the local Sault contingent until moving to southern Ontario.

The Sault Tridents have had a number of players compete on a Provincial, National and World level. The team itself has competed as a whole for many years in both Provincial and National tournaments. The team has traditionally done very well at these tournaments. World teams are selected through the assistance of the national underwater games body and several members from the Sault have competed regularly at this level.

World competitions are held every two years with the next competition slated for Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2012. The local Sault Tridents play weekly at the YMCA and occasionally at the John Rhodes aquatic facility. The team partakes in several tournaments a year including tournaments in Lansing, Michigan, London, Ontario, Champagne, Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, Guelph, Ontario, and Toronto. The team’s local website can be found at:

Underwater hockey was started by Alan Blake, Secretary of the Southsea British Sub- Aqua Club of Portsmouth, England, in 1954 to improve the snorkeling skills of his scuba students. The game came to Canada via Norm Liebeck, an Australian SCUBA instructor, who introduced the sport to the Vancouver Vanquatics SCUBA club in 1962. Ten years later, the Underwater Hockey Association of BC (UHABC) was formed and received support from the BC government.

In 1975, the first Canadian Men's Championships were held and in 1978, the first Canadian Women's Championships took place. Both were held in Vancouver, B.C., as well as the first World Tournament in 1980, now a biannual competition. The first Canadian Mixed Championships were held in 1982 in Montreal. The Canadian Underwater Games Association (CUGA), which governs both underwater hockey and underwater rugby in Canada, was formed in 1985. It was around this time that stick design and methods of playing had evolved to what is seen at present.

Today, the sport is played in more than 20 different countries including Australia, New Zealand, France, Holland, South Africa, the US, the U.K., Sweden, Hungary and Japan. Internationally, the sport is governed by the Underwater Games Commission of the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatique (CMAS), the world diving organization. In Canada, CUGA is our national contact.

Thanks to Jack Rice from the

Kathy Dowsett
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