Bradford Bulldogs Under 12s ice hockey team has scored a hat trick by winning the Dundee Stars Spring Classic tournament.
On the wings of winning the Nationals, the team travelled up to Dundee, at the weekend, to take on the top junior teams from across the British Isles; Dundee, Fife, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
In a continuation of their winning streak, the mighty bulldogs beat all five teams over the course of the weekend, to face Dundee in the finals. Despite having only 11 players against 23 from Dundee, Bradford played a closely contested game to emerge winners with a final score of 4-1.
In addition to their fantastic win, the Bulldogs players received commendations about their behaviour, attitude and professionalism from the Conference organisers, who said they were a credit to their club and the City of Bradford.
Coach Kris Gibson said “The team has had an amazing season and, due to the hard work and determination of the players, has remained unbeaten. I am immensely proud of each and every one of them and their commitment to the sport. We are looking forward to the forthcoming season.”
Bulldogs Ice Hockey Club has scored a first for Bradford, as not one but two of its teams have been crowned the English Ice Hockey Association’s National Champions 2015.
Bradford was represented in all three age groups (u12s, u14s & u16s) at the EIHA’s Junior National Finals held in Sheffield over the weekend of 16th & 17th May, for the first time in the clubs 40+ year history. The event saw the top placed teams in the North play against the second placed team in the South and vice versa in the semi-finals on the Saturday, with the winners playing off the following day for the title of National Champions.
On the first day, Bradford u12s saw off tough opposition from Bracknell in their 12 – 5 semi-final win, while the u14s beat Slough 6-1 in a clinical display of hockey. Despite a valiant effort, the u16s couldn’t make it three wins for the Club, as they went down 3-1 to the Okanagan Hockey Academy, which is a North American ice hockey academy based in Swindon.
The finals on Sunday gave the Bulldogs a chance to make further history and become the first team from Bradford to become national champions. The u12s played first and despite falling behind to an early goal, the team battled back and took control to beat Guildford 6-2 to become Bradford’s first National Champions.
The next final was a much closer game as the u14s also took on Guildford and were trailing 4-3 with just five minutes to play. In true Bulldogs spirit the team rallied and produced a thrilling comeback to eventually win 7-5 and become Bradford’s second National Champions.
Head Coach Andy Brown said “We are only a small club but all the hard work from players, coaches and the support of parents has paid off. We have only ever had two teams reach the national finals in the history of our club and we have never won; to have this victory for two of our teams is a fantastic achievement for the Club and for the City of Bradford. I am very proud of all the players, as they have put their hearts and souls into this season”.
Bradford Bulldogs are celebrating, as a record number of their young players were selected to represent the Northern Conference at the inter conference tournament in Sheffield, which was held over the bank holiday weekend.
Altogether 25 Bradford players aged between 9 -16 were successful in making teams at U11s, U13s, U15s and U17s. The teams competed against the other regions from S. East, S. West, Midlands and Scotland in the English Ice Hockey Association’s showcase event.
The fact that Bradford Ice Hockey Club is small, with around 50 registered players and has had 25 selected, gives testament to the standard of coaching provided and the ability of the young people involved.
Those selected are part of a dedicated group of players who attend weekly training sessions at Bradford Ice Arena and an annual ice hockey camp and who are now seeing results through their hard work and dedication.
The young people involved are extremely proud at being selected to play for the North and for their part in keeping Bradford’s reputation high.
The Club has had a number of successes this year, including one of their players, Kieran Brown, who goes to Thornton Grammar School, being selected for the final 10 in the GB skills competition for the Junior Winter Olympics in 2016.