Chairman’s Note

For the second consecutive year at this year’s English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) AGM the Chairman’s Development Award (North) was presented to Bradford Bulldogs Ice Hockey club. Last season was in many ways a challenging year for our club and whose members all competed at the highest possible level of Junior Hockey. Our u12’s and u14’s were crowned national champions and the u16’s also made the finals only to beat the national champions some weeks later in their own Tournament in Sheffield. Our u14’s also won the Sheffield Tournament and the u12’s triumphed in an international tournament in Dundee. Quite an achievement for a club with only 56 junior members!
Our summer development camp in July was once again over subscribed and in May a number of Bradford players attended the Endeavour Sports Group, ESG, (Ottawa) who with the Deeside Dragons Junior Ice Hockey Club provided a North American experience to coaching. Mike Pilon COE of ESG and Bradford are looking to run a careers camp over the weekend of the date May 2016. Three of Bradford Juniors will be playing in Canada and the US next season and my own son is now based in Charlotte NC playing his last year as a junior in the USPHL. These programmes focus on education and then hockey and with a professional approach these players develop skills not only on ice but boardroom skills for life. Hockey is big business both in the USA and Canada and it is vital as a club if our players are to play at the highest level possible we build strong relationships with organisations in both the USA and Canada.
We support the EIHA with the changes to age groups as well as the rules of competition as we fully appreciate the reasons but at the same time we hope with a targeted approach to increased membership at some stage in the future the u16’s age group can be re-instated. Our senior team did not perform as well as was expected at the start of the season but the true grit and determination of the hard core of players who competed in NIHA Laidler Conference league often short bench was admirable. We simple do not have the numbers for an u20’s squad and will continue to provide a pathway for juniors to play senior hockey again this season.
We welcomed Leanda Smith to the committee at the AGM and who is already making a difference and whose remit is marketing and fund raising and who has formed a very active sub-committee. In accordance with the EIHA Development plan Bradford will support the Board with the formation of a board of Governs and we will continue to support Jacqueline Pye in her new role as Junior Chair of the Youth Management committee. It goes without saying that both Barbara and Andy Brown have gone beyond the call of duty in taking lead roles with Northern Conference both in the field of Management and Coaching. I think it is fair to say in Bradford it is about the hockey and if we can help other clubs, parents and players we will.
Our focus within the club will not change. We want all of our players to be happy and feel good about their own game. Children develop at different rates but we also appreciate if our children are going to achieve success in adult life we are responsible for delivering not just hockey skill’s but skills for life. It goes without saying our club is special because of the like minded approach in general of our parents but I would personally like to express my personnel gratitude to a particular parent and a special coach. Last year was quite extraordinary and presented many challenges but despite personal loss and probably the longest saga I have experienced in armature sport Glenn Baldwin not only remained totally committed but has embraced the experience for the benefit of the children who he remains totally dedicated to.
We aim to achieve high standards in everything we do at the club but sometimes things do not go to plan and we can make mistakes. To deal with this the committee have published a club complaints handling procedure. If you would like to speak to me on any club matter outside of the roles of game officials during the fourth coming season please feel free to contact me at any time.
It is going to difficult to imagine we can expand on the clubs success in 2015/16 but rest assured the members of the committee, coaching and management team as well as the players and parents will continue to excel at everything we do.
Nicholas H Ratcliffe
DD 0161-942-1423 M 07768-850370;