England girls Winter Tournament
Up very early to pack up our rooms then a short walk in the dark through the snow to the ice hall to pick up our kit and load the coach.
Said good by to Arto and set off for breakfast and then started the long drive down to Helsinki watching a breathtaking sunrise….sorry some watched it most were fast asleep!
Stopped about an hour from the airport for some food and then on to the airport, check in and finally departure.
All arrived at Heathrow to be met by parents and friends and say good bye to team mates and staff.
This is the first time we have been to Piispala and although the journey is long the rewards are considerable.
The team played tournament games against players who will be part of Finland’s Olympic and World Championship teams.
They experienced off ice shooting and skating simulators that very few players have tried, all under the guidance of Finnish experts and we saw an improvement in their skating style in every single player.
The team learnt the harshest of lessons about ice hockey at the highest levels.
For all of the players and staff this was a unique hockey experience and through the tears and the triumphs the girls were the winners, they will be stronger more focused and aware of what it takes for the next step.
We need to thank all the Finnish coaches, both on and off the ice who have helped us over the year and a special thank you to Arto without who none of this would have happened and is a true believer in ‘The Hockey Family’
Good luck to all the girls who are moving up to the GBu16 programme and we wish you all a very happy Christmas.
The team staff