Sun, sand and Stanley

A sultry evening on a Caribbean beach might be the best place to watch the Stanley Cup final. (QMI...

A sultry evening on a Caribbean beach might be the best place to watch the Stanley Cup final. (QMI Agency/Linda O'Loughlin)

DAVE FULLER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS -- Nothing speaks hockey to Will Taylor like the famous white sand and turquoise beaches of this Caribbean island oasis.

An internet project developer from Montreal, Taylor admits he let his once fanatical relationship with the sport slide after the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in 1993.

"I was there. My car was broken into during the ensuing riot, it was crazy," recalled Taylor, briefly averting his eyes from a 16x9-foot projection screen showing Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals -- live -- on the beach of the luxurious Gansevoort Hotel.

"Moving here in November, it re-kindled my love for all things hockey."

Taylor joined a men's ball hockey league -- founded by NHL Hall-of-Famer Glenn Anderson, who used to own a home in Grace Bay -- and soon trips to the beach at the Gansevoort to watch Hockey Night In Canada or the World Juniors on the big screen were part of his T&C lifestyle.

Ryan Blain, an accountant from Chatham, moved to the Turks 10 years ago and often shows up for hockey broadcasts on the beach.

For Blain, watching Saturday night's Game 2 from his comfy patio couch was nearly as satisfying as having a seat inside Vancouver's Rogers Arena for the Canucks' 3-2 overtime win over the Bruins. Maybe moreso.

"The stars are out. I'm on the beach, having a drink and watching the Stanley Cup with friends ... with reggae music playing in the background," Blain grinned. "What's not to like?"

Fraser Dods, a Calgarian who established his own physiotherapy centre on the islands, says "there are more and more Canadians coming down here every year.

"Part of it is the weather and the tax shelters," he said. "But it's become a bit of a hockey hotbed as well."

At least the Rollerblade version.

Ottawa native Bruce MacLaren, one of the developer/owners of the Gansevoort Hotel in Grace Bay, plays, coaches and sponsors kids roller hockey teams in the Provo Hockey League.

He and his partners began showing hockey games on the beach shortly after their condo-hotel opened in 2009.

Since then, NHL players like Dion Phaneuf, Scott Gomez, Gary Roberts and Brendan Morrison -- to name a few -- have vacationed at the Gansevoort.

"Henrick Zetterberg checked in right after Detroit was eliminated from last year's playoffs," MacLaren said.

"I'm a hockey fantatic; I followed the Senators from Ottawa to Anaheim and back during the 2007 Stanley Cup finals. Some of our (non- Canadian) guests, I'm sure, are surprised we're showing hockey games on the beach.

"They learn soon enough that the owners are big hockey fans."

As for Montreal's Will Taylor, he says he's "more into hockey now than in a long time."

"It's re-invigorated my hockey DNA," said Taylor, who's rooting for the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup.

"I'm a Habs fan, so naturally I'm anti-Boston," he said.


Videos

Photos