Hall Of Famers Help Make CPL In Florida, A Reality
By Mike Chambers
It was very exciting to learn that some games of this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) will be played in Florida in July. There are a number of persons to thank for this achievement, including Hall of Famers Jeffrey Miller (2008), Mahammad Qureshi (2011), Commissioner Dale Holness (2012), and Mayor Richard Kaplan (2014). It is their vision and tenacity that has resulted in the decision to hold the games there.
On the night of his induction into the Cricket Hall of Fame, Miller told the gathering of about 300 guests that $70 million was spent on building the cricket stadium in Lauderhill, Florida, which resulted in Hartford’s Mayor Eddie Perez, who was present, and commenting just before handing out citations to the inductees, that the amount was about the size of his budget for the City of Hartford.
Dale Holness, then Vice Mayor and Commissioner of the City of Lauderhill and one of the driving forces behind the building of the stadium, said that he hoped that it would foster better relations in the areas of sports, culture, education and health.
“We will be able to provide a gateway to endless economic development, including international cricket tournaments and soccer games, national netball, and State football competitions,” he told Jamaica’s daily newspaper The Gleaner.
Mahammad Qureshi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Florida based Cricket Council USA (CCUSA) has been the visionary in the development of T20 cricket competitions in Florida and other parts of the United States of America. CCUSA is a professional sports and entertainment management organization that has been at the leading edge of the promotion, development and expansion of cricket in the U.S.
I was very impressed with Mayor Kaplan, when we met for the first time in 2010, while he was in Hartford to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. At that time Mayor Kaplan was optimistic, but a little worried, explaining that there is a strong possibility that the stadium would become a multi-purpose facility because it was somewhat underutilized. He was even more worried that the stadium would have to be torn down to facilitate some other deserving sport.
Recently in an interview with ESPN, Mayor Kaplan said that they will go back to using the stadium in the way it was originally intended to be used. He stated, “A variety of international games are important to us and I believe that’s what is going to happen. There has been an expression of interest by several international teams to play cricket in the United States, and we have the facility for which they can do that.”
“I think it’s what we’ve all been looking forward to, and hoping for,” adding, “We hope to make this not just a single one-year thing, but a long-term arrangement so that it will be an annual event. I think it will be very popular and they will have a natural audience to come here and see the game.”
If it was not for the hard and diligent work that the Rev. Ouida McDonald, the Cricket Hall of Fame’s representative in the Florida region is doing for the sport in Florida, none of those gentlemen inducted into the Hall of Fame, would have attracted the attention of the Hall of Fame, and ultimately inducted.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is now building upon the foundation laid down by the US cricket stakeholders — the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) and the American Cricket Federation (ACF). The Hall of Fame hopes that with the advent of the CPL tournament coming to the USA, cricket has finally arrived in this country.
The Hall of Fame is proud of the work that its Hall of Famers are continuing to do throughout the country, and the rest of the world.
Keep up the good work Hall of Famers.
Mike Chambers is President of the Cricket Hall of Fame, located in Hartford, CT.