ICE HOCKEY: Rhodes selected for England U13s

Rhodes at his England Select game against the Czech Republic
Rhodes at his England Select game against the Czech Republic
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Lawrence Sheriff Student looking forward to competing in Canada

Rhodes Mitchell-King of Dunchurch has been selected for this season’s England Under 13 ice hockey team. Their main focus will be to represent England in February at the largest tournament in the world for this age group in Quebec, Canada. Under 13 level is the first step on the ladder for elite ice hockey players towards the international senior teams.

Rhodes, who attends Lawrence Sheriff School and plays his club ice hockey for Coventry Blaze Academy, attended trials at Ice Sheffield and the adjacent Institute of Sport, in August. He was one of 47 trialists from all across England and after 2 days of on-ice drills and off-ice fitness testing, a training squad of 23 was selected for further consideration. The final trial on 11th September, again at Sheffield, consisted of a full game against local opposition where the squad was fully game tested for their on-ice skills, teamwork and discipline. After this a team of 18 has been selected with the remaining 5 players being named as reserves. Rhodes has the honour of being selected in the 18.

The team will now train together monthly, attend two 2-day camps in October and December, follow individual fitness programmes and play a few practice games before travelling to Quebec for two weeks in February. The team will play 10-12 games in Quebec including exhibition games, at least one on a pond outdoors, and the tournament games at the Centre Videotron stadium which seats over 18,000 spectators.

Rhodes has in fact already worn “the three lions” having been selected for an England U13 Select team against the Czech Republic at Nottingham at the end of August. England just lost out 6-5 in a feisty and controversial game. He looks forward to better successes in Quebec in February.

His elder brother, Austin, also trialled for England in August at Under 15 level but just missed out on selection. As one of 46 players chosen he had a difficult job competing against players who had played internationally at Under 13 & Under 14 levels in previous seasons.

Both boys have now started their club seasons, Austin as captain of the Coventry Blaze U15 team and Rhodes as a senior member of the U13 A team. In addition both have started trialling for the Midlands Conference teams at their age groups. This involves mainly monthly late night sessions at Nottingham Ice Centre with the final teams being announced in December. After Christmas the selected teams train for a European tournament and the main competition in May against the other four UK Conferences (Scotland, North, South East & South West).

Ice hockey is an expensive sport (insurance, extensive protective kit, sticks, match/training fees and travel) and as a minor sport in the UK receives very little funding from grants, major sponsorship, TV money etc. If anyone is interested in helping Austin & Rhodes on their elite path in ice hockey please contact Bob at : bobmk@homeleigh.org.uk