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Bulldogs’ brought to halt again … but hopefully not for too long

Bulldogs’ youngsters get ready to take to the ice at the recent Christmas day-camp at Bradford Ice Arena.

FOR understandable reasons, Bradford Ice Arena has had to shut its doors to everybody for the third time in the past 10 months, meaning there will be no Bulldogs training for the foreseeable future.

After the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday night, the national lockdown to help combat Covid-19 prevents any kind of hockey training taking place – among most other things – adding to what has been an already challenging few months for everybody.

Bulldogs’ head coach Andy Brown had introduced extra practice sessions following the end of the second lockdown in November, with players from Under-9s through to Under-18s keen to take up the opportunity of boosting their development even further.

Andy has been pleased with the progress made by many of the youngsters at the club – at all age groups – and hopes it won’t be too long before he can get them back on the ice once again.

Youngsters from Group A on the Bulldogs’ New Year’s Day camp take part in the closing game at Bradford Ice Arena.

“The last few weeks have been excellent for everyone, I think,” said Andy.

“We brought in these extra, age-specific sessions given that we had the extra ice available at the rink and it has only helped our players develop their skills.

“We even managed to arrange two separate day camps which went down well with the youngsters, events where you could really see a striking progression in their abilities – even when it is just three extra hours of ice.”

Andy said there had been plans to put on a Bulldogs’ training camp during the half-term school holidays in February but this, along with everything else for the foreseeable future, has had to be shelved until later in the year.

Taking instruction on the recent New Year’s Day camp.

“It is a frustrating time for so many people on so many different levels at the moment,” he added. “And we have to remember that there are more important things in life than hockey at times like this.

“We just need to make sure that we all stay safe, follow the government guidelines and then, maybe, we can all get back to doing the things we love doing the most – whatever that may be.

“I’ve really enjoyed the last few weeks since the second lockdown and I’ve been pleased with the way the kids have responded to the extra sessions and taken on the extra challenges we’ve given them.

“Hopefully, we can all get back together on that ice again as soon as possible and pick up where we left off.”

Bulldogs’ Christmas Sunday Camp …

AROUND 40 youngsters ranged from eight to 18 turned out for the first day camp of the year at Bradford Ice Arena.

Split into two groups, the 9s, 11s and a select number of 13s took to the ice first, swapping for some off-ice activities while the older players – a mixture of 13s, 15s and 18s – took their turn out in the middle.

Both groups then had a second on-ice session in the afternoon.

Head over to our Facebook page to watch a video recap on how the day went HERE

Bulldogs’ juniors back at it … this time for good, all being well

BACK AT IT: Bradford Bulldogs’ junior teams are back on the ice at Bradford Ice Arena this week after the end of the second UK lockdown.

 

THANKFULLY it wasn’t as long as the first lockdown and, hopefully, there won’t be any more interruptions between now and the end of the 2020-21 season.

Tuesday night saw our Bulldogs Under-18s take to the ice for their first extra session and Wednesday evening sees our other age groups get back at it with their regular training sessions.

Head coach Andy Brown has also scheduled a number of additional training sessions given the extra ice that is currently available at Bradford Ice Arena, due to the Tier 3 restrictions currently in place.

Thursday gives our Under-15s the chance to get some extra ice time from 7pm-8.30pm, while Friday night brings non-stop action for our teams.

First up will be the Under-9s and Under-11s, who hit the ice between 6pm-7.30pm, followed by the Under-13s who are on from 8pm-9.30pm. The Under-18s return to their regular Friday night slot after a month or so off from 10pm onwards.

On Sundays, the youngsters will get the chance to add a bit of welcome competition to their training with some in-house games. 

First up will be the Under-9s and Under-11s who will battle it out from 11am-12.30pm, followed by the 13s, 15s and 18s who start their match at 1pm. 

NOW HEAR THIS: Bulldogs’ youngsters take instruction from their coaches at a training session back in September.

“It will be great to get the youngsters back on the ice,” said coach Brown. “It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve managed to get things sorted and get the rink open.

“With the restrictions that are still in place because of Bradford being classed as a Tier 3 area, it means that we currently have extra ice available for the various age group teams.

“It would be great if as many of our kids as possible took the opportunity to get down as often as they can in the next few weeks for these extra sessions. All being well, if the EIHA’s Return to Play policy progresses as planned and hoped, we can get some games into these kids at some point next year.

BRING IT BACK: Youngsters are able to return to what they love doing this week at Bradford Ice Arena.

 

“I know it has been an exceptionally frustrating time for all of us these past few months – obviously it has been a terrible time for everybody – but, from a hockey sense, it is now about trying to make up for lost time and make these next few months really count.”

  • Wednesday night’s training remains £5 per player, while the extra sessions, including the in-house games on Sundays, will cost £10 payable on the door to the respective team managers.

Bulldogs get back to doing what they love most …

The Bulldogs Under-15s take instruction from the coaches on Wednesday night.

AFTER six months away, Bradford Bulldogs finally got back on the ice on Wednesday night at Bradford Ice Arena.

Junior teams from the Under-9s through to Under-15s all got an hour or more working with the coaches as they quickly made up for being away for so long.

The evening was rounded off by the seniors getting on the ice for their first practice session since the 2019-20 season was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Players from the Bulldogs’ Under-11s get put through their paces

Head coach Andy Brown, said: “It was great to finally get back out there after so long away.
“There were things that were different, obviously, given everything that has happened in the past few months and the new Covid-19 rules and guidelines we have in place.
“But we soon got back into the flow of things and back to what we love doing best.
“Seeing all the youngsters, parents and coaches was brilliant. Considering it was the first time in full kit for some of them, the players were all amazing.”

Bulldogs set to get back out on the ice

 

THE wait is finally over. 

Today sees the Bulldogs back on the ice having been forced to sit on the sidelines for six months due to the lockdown brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

After last week saw the green light finally given for Bradford Ice Arena to reopen its doors on Tuesday, Wednesday night sees the club’s various junior teams and the club’s senior players hit the ice for some long-awaited practice sessions.

The Under-9s will be first on the ice between 5.30-6.30pm, followed by the Under-11s who will get their hour from 6.45pm onwards.

The Under-13s return to training at 8pm with the Under-15s making the most of their 60-minute slot from 9.15pm before the seniors’ team round-off the evening with a late showing at 10.30pm.

Bradford Bulldogs head coach, Andy Brown

Head coach Andy Brown admitted it had been a long time in the making to get the club’s players back out on the ice, adding that he couldn’t wait to get started again.

“It’s been a frustrating time for everybody at the club,” said Andy. “Obviously, what has gone on over the last few months has been a horrible experience for many people and our hearts go out to those who have suffered.

“We’ve been busy at the rink getting the place ready for when we could start practising again and I know from speaking to parents, players, team managers and our coaches, that we’re all desperate just to get back out there again.”

The club returns to the ice heading straight into step 3 of the EIHA’s phased ‘Return to Play’ structure, although it will be a while yet before any actual games can be scheduled for teams at any age group.

In the meantime, players will be able to train on the ice in groups of up to 30, plus their coaches, with contact to be phased in over the next two-three weeks.

They will be able to work on strength and conditioning with coaches, cover technical and tactical aspects of the game, as well as return to developing their individual skills.

“It’s going to be great,” added Andy. “We’ve been able to keep in touch with people through social media and, in the case of some of the youngsters, some weekend off-ice sessions in recent weeks.

“But I’m just looking forward to getting back out on the ice with them all. It’s been too long and we’ve got a lot of lost time to make up for because we want to get back to having fun out on that ice pad.” 

 

Bulldogs’ head coach Andy Brown moves on up to GB Under-18s

BULLDOGS’ head coach Andy Brown says he is delighted to move up to the position of assistant coach for Great Britain Under-18s.
The 42-year-old is one of two appointments to the team, with Richard Hartmann also being named as an assistant to head coach Sean Easton.

Bradford Bulldogs head coach, Andy Brown

Andy admitted he was saddened to move up from his role with the GB Under-16 team, while at the same time excited about the new challenges that now lie ahead of him in an environment he feels he will fit into well.

“I’m delighted to be asked to move up and assist with the Under-18s,” he said. “I know Sean well and feel our coaching styles complimented each other well when we worked together in the England programme. 

“I’m obviously sad to leave the Under-16s as I feel we had a strong coaching unit, but I know the structure we put in place will hugely benefit the next crop of young players to come through.” 
David Hand, chairman of the GB Programme Board, said: “We believe Sean, Richard and Andy will make a great coaching trio for the under-18s.
“Both Richard and Andy are already in the GB set-up and by moving them across to the Under-18s to work with Sean, we think we have a very strong trio of coaches.
“We have some fantastic talented youngsters and these three coaches are the right choice to take the programme forward.”