GB

Bulldogs’ head coach Andy Brown on recent GB training camps at Ice Sheffield

NOW LISTEN UP! Bulldogs’ head coach and GB Under-18 assistant coach Andy Brown (centre) instructs the GB Under-18s attending last week’s training camp at Ice Sheffield. Picture courtesy of Ice Hockey UK Media.

BULLDOGS’ head coach Andy Brown believes there is an abundance of young talent coming through in GB hockey – something made clear at a three-day camp held at Ice Sheffield last week.

Andy was down there in his role as assistant coach for the GB under-18s, one of several national age-group teams taking part, with over 200 youngsters attending.

The camp began on Thursday with two on-ice practices each for GB U18s Women and GB U16s Women, as well as off-ice activities, including strength and conditioning. 

On Friday, the men’s GB Under-20s, Under-18s and Under-16s – including Bulldogs’ very own Gregor Mills – took to the ice twice, before all three sides returned the following day for their final sessions of the camp. 

The youngsters also had gym fitness sessions at the nearby English Institute for Sport and there were also off-ice workshops.

In addition, GB Women’s captain Saffron Allen met with the youngsters on Thursday while GB Men’s forward Liam Kirk – who finished as joint-top goalscorer at the recent World Championships in Riga and last week agreed a three-year NHL entry-level contract with Arizona Coyotes – was the special guest on Friday. 

Given how long it had been since some of the youngsters had been together due to the pandemic, Andy said he was impressed with the level of skill and effort produced throughout the camp, something which bodes well for next season’s hoped-for IIHF World Championship campaigns for the various GB teams – although dates and venues are yet to be confirmed by the governing body.

FUTURE PROSPECTS: Youngsters taking part in last week’s GB Under-20 training camp at Ice Sheffield listen to their coaches during practice. Picture courtesy of Ice Hockey UK Media.

Because of the various lockdowns all over the world, no GB teams – other than the GB men’s team under Pete Russell – have been able to compete on the world stage since early 2020.

“The GB selection process is slightly different this year as we’ve been able to secure ice for two ‘identification camps’ to allow the coaches at each age group a chance to have a really good look at players before the trials start properly,” said Andy.

“It’s something we thought would be needed this year given the amount of time that some of the players have been off the ice due to the pandemic.

“I was surprised by the high standard shown at all age groups and it’s hopefully a great indicator that GB will be extremely competitive in the World championships next season.”

Weekend Review – Planet Ice Cup wins for Under-111s and 15s

READY, WILLING AND ABLE: Bradford Bulldogs’ Under-13s netminder Jacob Midgley prepares to deny Widnes’ forward a goalscoring opportunity. Picture: Caroline Midgley.

IT TURNED out to be a great afternoon for our youngsters on Sunday, with our Under-11s and Under-15s both recording handsome wins over Widnes in the Planet Ice Cup.

The 11s came home from Cheshire with a terrific 11-4 win, with Will Durgan (4+2), Kieran Smith (3+2), Anrijs Mikelsons (2), Charlie Barker and Kyle Bower all among the points. Charlie B also got ‘Spirit of the Game’.

Meanwhile, back at ‘the pound’, our 15s won 20-3. Daragh Spawforth (5+3), Frankie O’Sullivan (4+2), Jess Wooding (3+2), McKenzie Barker (3+0), Tom Mardell (2+2), Danny Harrison (2+7) and Jake Wigginton (1+1) and Dan Johns (0+1) all getting on the scoresheet. Jess W also got ‘Spirit of the Game’.

Two great, all-round performances from every single kid involved, top coaching and brilliantly supported by parents as always.

WINNERS: Bradford Bulldogs’ Under-11s line up on the ice after their 11-4 win in the Planet Ice Cup at Widnes on Sunday – Charlie Barker earning himself the Spirit of the Game award. Picture: Lee Farrow.

Next week our Under-13s and Under-18s are in action on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, we are staging the first in a series of friendly fixtures against Whitley Bay. The Under-13s play host in a 4pm face-off, while the Under-18s are scheduled to start their game at around 5.30pm.

On Sunday, our Under-13s play in the Planet Ice Cup against Hull (4.15pm), who are currently playing their home games at Leeds (Elland Road), while our Under-18s play host to our East Yorkshire rivals, in a 5pm face-off.

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.”

GB vs Poland: Offer for Junior Players

GB_celebrate_v_Poland_Skydome-1Junior ice hockey players are being offered a fantastic discount via their clubs to watch Great Britain’s international challenge games with Poland in April.

The two sides meet at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham on Friday 14th April (7.30pm) and then again in Coventry’s Skydome the next day, Saturday 15th April (1.00pm).

Ice Hockey UK, with the support of the EIHA’s Junior League Management Committee (JLMC), are pleased to offer the following discounted ticket price for club and team group bookings.

Registered junior players can gain admission to the games for only £5 and four accompanied team staff members will go free. Tickets for any extra adults will cost only £10.

Bookings, which will be taken on a first come first served basis, must be made before Friday 24th March and space is very limited in Coventry. If available space at Coventry is taken, Nottingham will be offered instead.

Chair of JLMC, Jacqueline Pye, said: “We are pleased to be able to offer junior players and their clubs a great discount for the two GB games.

“It is good that everyone has worked together to get the sport’s junior players, who are the stars of our future, a chance to watch one of the current GB sides in action.”

Great Britain general manager, Andy Buxton, said: “Making our national team accessible to young players is very important.

“It will be excellent to see lots of youngsters at the game, some of whom maybe one day will be following in the footsteps of the current GB players.”

IHUK general secretary, Andy French, added: “This is a fantastic intiative for the sport’s young players to watch top-class Great Britain players.

“I would like to thank all the parties involved in making this possible.”

To make your booking, please contact JLMC  Jacqueline Pye on email at jacquelinepye@eiha.co.uk