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”.