March 17, 2017

The England National Team Programme (ENTP) and the Officials Section have joined forces to combine development of players in the current England teams with that of up and coming EIHA referees.

england1ENTP general manager Gary Apsley and Head of Officials Training & Development Joy Johnston are both delighted that five young officials and one referee instructor will join the England Development Camp in Nymbuk, Czech Republic between 10th and 13th April 2017.

Joy Johnston said: “This is great news for the Officials Section. At the start of this season we set out a plan to work towards achieving excellence across the Officials Section and we know we have a lot of work to do.

“This new collaboration with the England programme is a big step in the right direction for us and I am thrilled that we were invited to be part of the ENTP Development Camp. It is really exciting.”

Work on the collaboration with the Officials Section involved both the ENTP and Junior League Management Committee (JLMC). Funding for the officials taking part in the camp is being provided by the JLMC’s “Power of Ten” programme which is being led by JLMC chairJacqueline Pye and implemented by England management.

Jacqueline Pye said: “When Gary and Ben discussed the idea of involving the Officials Section I could see the benefits to all involved straight away. Working together is something we all need to do and this seemed to me to be a fantastic opportunity that we should all embrace.

“It is really good to see the various sections of the EIHA working closer together. It will only benefit the sport in the long run.”

The ENTP Development Camp is a new venture for the England programme. Rather than taking part in a traditional Euro-Tournament, it was decided to try and emulate a World Championship event which Ben Pitchley and the teams head coaches believe would provide a better experience for the players to support their development as they prepare for trials and selection for the Great Britain U16 team and beyond.

EIHA Refs Logo 300 x 300England GM Gary Apsley explained: “Our head coach Ben Pitchley looked closely at what England teams have achieved over the past three or four seasons. He looked at GB’s U18 and U16 teams and spoke with GB staff.

“He concluded that playing ‘shotgun hockey tournaments’ was not the way forward for our programme and together with Martyn Etheridge and Chris Salem they devised a new programme in the Development Camp.

“We found a host for the camp in Nymburk and we have worked closely with the host to try and replicate part of a world championship event over four days in April. I am looking forward to seeing our plan implemented. It will be different and hopefully will be the start of a bigger plan for all of us.”

With a mix of on ice practice, classroom lecture, off-ice fitness and a competitive challenge game against selected opposition the ENTP staff are expecting the camp to replicate as far as possible the experiences of an IIHF tournament.
Now with the introduction of the EIHA Officials section, the camp is taking on a completely different look and feel. The EIHA is sending 90 players, staff and match officials to the development camp and this is being heralded as a major and significant step forward and demonstration of the joined-up thinking that members of the Association have been hoping to see.

ENTP programme director Geoff Hemmerman is delighted with this latest development and said: “Ben and Joy have been talking about a joined-up approach for the past four months or so. Our selection camps have enjoyed the support of match officials since last August so we had already started to work closer together with Ken Riddell and his team.

“This latest development takes the collaboration to a completely different level. I believe this is what all sections of the EIHA need to do and alongside the work Gary and Ben are doing with the JLMC with their Power of Ten and the recent work with Sheffield Steelers head coach Paul Thompson, the combined development camp with GB u18 women and the JLMC PO10 U16’s back in December, people can see that we are working really hard to try and bring about some of the change that we all know is desperately needed.”

The ENTP, JLMC and now the Officials Section are all beginning to see the effects of joined-up thinking and collaboration and with the current season drawing to a close in a few weeks’ time the future is certainly beginning to look a lot brighter which will be welcome news for participants and supporters of ice hockey at the junior level.

joyjohnstonJoy Johnston had no trouble finding participants for the trip to Nymburk. She has appointed Nathan Ormond as EIHA referee instructor for the trip. He will deliver a series of lectures and on-ice workshops as well as provide the supervision for the EHA officials during the challenge games which will be co-officiated with Czech match officials. Again this will be emulating the sort of experiences our officials can expect to encounter when they officiate at major international events and tournaments.

Daniel Rees, Ethan Hardy, Oliver Truswell, Richard Wang and Nat Casey are the five officials selected to take part in the camp – they all jumped at the chance to take part.

Joy Johnston added: “Congratulations to everyone who has been chosen. They were selected because they have shown a good attitude this season and have performed well in their games.

“It is a great opportunity for them to enjoy an intensive learning experience as an official in a camp environment and in a different hockey country. We hope they enjoy the experience and that this becomes an on-going partnership with the EIHA Junior Programme so we can send more officials on this type of experience.”