With the opening of the new Silver Blades ice rink in Widnes has come the opportunity to launch a new ice programme aimed to attract existing players and coaches but more importantly to attract new people of all ages into ice hockey.
Initially it is planned to enter a senior team into the NHL North 2nd Division from September 2013 and Michael Caunce, previously of the Flyde Flyers, has been appointed as General Manager for the new team and to oversee the establishment of the junior programme.
Additionally Mark Gillingham has been appointed Head Coach for the junior programme. Mark is one of the few EIHA Level 3 qualified coaches in country and brings with him over 20 years’ experience in ice hockey.
Speaking about the opportunity ahead, Mr Caunce said,
“It is the opportunity of a lifetime to be asked to launch a full hockey programme at a brand new rink. The facilities at Widnes are first class and the programme has the full support of the Silver Blades organisation. Senior players will be fully supported without the need to pay to play and there is a real ambition to develop a successful, sustainable programme that will contribute to player development as well as providing role models for the junior players”.
Head Coach Mark Gillingham added;
“As part of the rinks development a full hockey programme was designed by some of the country’s leading sports specialists and I am honoured to be asked to oversee the implementation of this programme. We will provide pathways into ice hockey for all levels of the local community as soon as we have suitable player numbers we will enter teams into the relevant leagues. In addition we will look to assist the Manchester Phoenix Women’s and Sledge Hockey programmes that are based at the Widnes rink trough identifying and developing players for their programmes”.
A comprehensive learn ice hockey programme will provide a solid foundation supported by a strong learn to skate programme. Additionally Sport England has provided funding to provide free learn to skate courses for 14 – 25 year olds to help introduce new people into the sport.
The team name and logo will be decided by pupils from local schools and there will be a strong marketing campaign launched over the next few months to attract players and fans to ice hockey.
If you are interested in getting involved with ice hockey in Widnes please email [email protected]
Alternatively you can speak to the rink or phone Mick Caunce on 07595393277
Why not follow us on twitter for up to date information – @widnesicehockey