November 22, 2017

England IHAAround 40 players were in Sheffield last Friday/Saturday as the expanded England women & girls programme kicked off with the first trial for the recently introduced u17 women’s team.

England general manager Gary Apsley welcomed everyone to the event and provided an outline of the current England Programme and the player pathway.

It was explained that the EIHA’s England programme was hoping to begin a closer working relationship with IHUK’s Great Britain teams and this new u17 team was currently seen as a hybrid team in terms of the player eligibility which was due to the lack of numbers.  Currently there are almost 140 players eligible for the England u17 programme and it is recognised that a great deal of work is required to provide information to players and their parents in order to establish a new model for selection and participation at England level.

A number of questions were raised by players and parents typically surrounding the relationship between England and Great Britain.  There were also questions concerning the England selection policy for GB players.

Paul Burton responding to the GB relationship question said that there was some dialogue taking place between the two programmes while Gary Apsley explained that the long term aim for ENTP was for players who graduate from England to the GB team to have their place within the England team backfilled by players moving up the selection pool.

Friday night’s session at Ice Sheffield saw the players complete skating tests and drills while players new to the programme underwent baseline concussion testing with Saffron Allen from the ENTP medical staff.  Lead coaches Tim Healand and Paul Burton were joined by Kirsten Deighton and goalie coach Danny Milton.

The following morning players and staff were at EIS bright and early for some fitness tests and warmup/cool down tips.  Before the group dispersed, with several players and staff having games that afternoon/evening, the coaches explained the timeline for future England sessions – the next camp will be a full day just before Christmas.

After the session Tim Healand said: “This has been an excellent start for the new team.  Expanding the England female player programme was always a key part of its development, and we’re pleased with the group we’ve had this weekend.

“A lot of the girls have come through England girls and School of Excellence so we know what to expect from each other but similarly some new faces have come to light and hopefully as the word spreads more female players show an interest in the development pathways that are on offer.

“Our next camp in December will have everyone together for a full day – u14 girls, Power of Ten as well as this squad – and we’ll make it a worthwhile event for them.”