ICE HOCKEY: Junior season concludes for talented Rugby brothers
Academy in Toronto beckons for Austin next season to take game up to a higher level
The UK junior ice hockey season reached its conclusion over the bank holiday weekend at Ice Sheffield with the UK Conference Championship Tournament between the five regions – Scotland, North, Midlands, South West and South East.
The elite players from each region competed at the Under 11, 13, 15 and 17 age groups in 44 games over three days.
Two local brothers gained selection and represented the Midlands, with Austin Mitchell-King at the Under 17 age group and Rhodes Mitchell-King at Under 15.
Both boys are assisted by GLL Sports Foundation as part of the Rugby Sports Awards Scheme and play their club ice hockey for the Coventry Blaze Academy. Trials for each team took place during the autumn at Nottingham with the teams being announced at Christmas time.
The teams then had regular training sessions and some challenge games and tournaments as preparation for the UK finale.
The Under 15 team also travelled to the Czech Republic for a training camp and further challenge games against strong local opposition.
Over the weekend the Midlands Under 17 team disappointingly failed to retain the championship which they won last year.
They had only one win in their four games in what was a very strong competition won by the North who beat Scotland in the final on Monday evening.
It was Austin’s last season for a Conference team having represented the Midlands at the Under 13, 15 and 17 age groups.
The Midlands Under 15 team, however, went unbeaten in their four round robin games and then beat the Northern Conference 2-1 in a very close final to become the UK Under 15 Champions. Rhodes now moves up to qualify for the Under 17 age group next season.
In their club teams both boys have had contrasting seasons.
Rhodes, as captain, led his Coventry U15 team to avoid relegation in a tough season as well as playing up for the U18 team when available.
He also gained selection for the England Under 15 team and played for them in Bratislava in April.
Next season he moves upto the under 18 age group which will be another tough season in what looks to be quite a young Coventry team.
Austin was a leading scorer for both the Coventry U18 and U20 teams this season, the U20 team being crowned both English and UK champions.
He also played at senior level in National League Division 2 once he reached 16 years old.
However, his main achievement came in early April playing in his first international team as part of the Great Britain Under 18 team who won gold and promotion in their World Championship Tournament in Estonia.
Next season, after his GCSEs, he moves to Toronto, training daily and playing for an academy in order to take his game up to a higher level.