With children as young as three taking to the ice at the Link Centre to learn how to play ice hockey in the Learn to Play programme, Swindon Wildcats ice hockey are demonstrating how popular the game is.
Explaining what’s on offer for youngsters, Wildcats general manager Steve Nell said: “The Learn to Play programme takes place on Fridays from 6.15pm for boys and girls between the ages of about 4 to 14. It’s open to anyone who has a basic skating ability and provides the foundation to progress through the skill levels before being invited to join the Wildcats Academy.”
Swindon Wildcats has the biggest youth section in the country, with 180 registered players, 50 of whom are under ten years old. The junior squad comprises five age groups, each with two teams, including a girls only under 16 team. Fixtures are played all across the south of England, with each team playing 20 games per season.
Steve is also the director of Okanagan Hockey Academy based at Link Centre which launched in September, providing daily hockey training for 14 to 18 year olds who attend school at Lydiard Park Academy and local colleges.
Commenting on the club’s ambitions, Steve said: “We want to be the biggest club in the country, and make Swindon the home of ice hockey in England.”
"All that’s needed to get involved is for the child to be keen, motivated and prepared to have fun. The first session of the Learn to Play programme is free, with equipment provided".
For more information contact the Swindon Wildcats Ice Hockey Academy office on 01793 886857.
Photos: Richad Wintle of Calyx Picture Agency