The selection process for the 2016/17 England U14 & U15 boys teams got underway Tuesday in Sheffield with 88 players and 15 coaches taking to the Bauer Arena at Ice Sheffield for the first day of the three day selection camp.
It is a new look England programme which is being overseen by EIHA Director Geoff Hemmerman and the first soundings from the watching parents suggest that the new leadership team have created a programme that appears to be setting a new standard.
Hemmerman said: “There’s a lot of change ahead for ice hockey and the England programme is under considerable scrutiny from the sport’s Governing Bodies and of course our parents. I am very keen to ensure that we do the very best we can with our camp this week and the first impressions are pretty good.”
The programme’s first day saw the kids take an intensive on-ice session and off-ice testing. When not engaged in activity the players were in lectures and presentations and the day ended with a full length game which was analysed using the EIHA’s latest digital coaching and evaluation toolkit.
Head Coach Ben Pitchley was pleased with the first day’s proceedings, which had started at 6am for the staff.
“I’m pleased we’ve come through the first day,” he said.
“We have pushed the kids really hard and a few of them have found the going tough. My coaches know we are looking to adopt a fast-paced game and to do that we need players who are fast, strong and with a high degree of mental toughness.
“Some kids today have experienced this level of intensity for the first time and I’m sure they now know what is expected of them.”
The camp continues until 4pm on Thursday and Pitchley and his staff have a full programme of events planned-out to get the very best from the athlete’s trialling. The action concludes with further full-length games, starting at 1pm on Thursday. Admission for any interested spectators at Ice Sheffield is free.