Success for Tigers Learn to play

Telford Tigers’ Learn to Programme could be set for expansion, after club bosses opened a waiting list for prospective new players.

The beginners’ sessions regular attract over 35 youngsters to Telford Ice Rink on Tuesday evenings, with prices ranging from £30 to £40 for an eight-week course, including basic kit.

The hour-long lessons, coached by the Tigers EPL stars, are designed to bring young players up to a suitable standard for Telford’s junior system.

Rick Plant, Telford Tigers Youth Development Manager, is delighted with the progress made by players at the sessions over the last two years.

He said: “When I came back to Telford, one of the key things for me was investment in youth development. I am delighted that we are now seeing that investment come to fruition.

“As long as youngsters have basic skating skills, they can borrow kit and try the game for themselves. Learn to Play has always been popular, so it’s great that we’ve been able to expand it.

“In the near future I want to put on extra sessions to cope with demand. It is essential that any young person who wants to try ice hockey can come down to the rink and have a go.

“I want to hold sessions for true beginners, and then a further session for more advanced players, as they progress towards the juniors organisation.

“Ice hockey is great for general fitness, but also developing team work and discipline in youngsters. I have made some wonderful, life-long friends through the game.”

Youngsters who complete the eight-week course may then be invited to join the Telford Junior Ice Hockey Club, which has teams ranging from under-nines to under-18s.

Mr Plant added: “I have seen many, many, youngsters from Learn to Play go on to enjoy great success with Telford Tigers juniors. That is the most satisfying part of the job for me.

“My ambition is to one day see those players take to the ice with the Tigers senior team. Telford has always had an excellent junior system, so I think it is just a matter of time.”

Lisa Howells, chairman of Telford Junior Ice Hockey Club, said: “Our club focuses strongly on the development of all players – from the youngest beginners to the elite prospects being selected for national squads.

“Since the Tigers began running the Learn to Play course there has been a much better introduction for children who are new to the sport, ensuring they can master the basics of hockey, and giving them the best chance of joining the Telford Tigers junior teams.”

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