Robert Wilkinson has been appointed head coach of the newly formed Great Britain Under-16s.

The Under-16s team will provide a pathway to the next levels of GB ice hockey.

The youngsters will meet for camps throughout the season, while tournaments are already being lined up for them to participate in next season.

Wilkinson played over 500 games for Durham and also represented GB Under-18s, winning a gold medal, and went on to play for the Under-20s.

The 44-year-old has been involved as a coach with Whitley Bay, Newcastle and Billingham junior clubs – and has been coach of England 16s since 2000.

Wilkinson said: “It was honour to play for my country and I am just as honoured to be chosen to coach it.

“With Paul Thompson leading from the top, it’s really exciting to see how much we can improve and see where we are at in maybe 10 years time at senior level.”

Thompson, who is national team advisor for Ice Hockey UK, said: “Robert is young and hungry. The key is he has a great knowledge of the players at that level.

“He will have a good working relationship with the under-18s and under-20s coaches and we are looking to support and help him grow into the position.

“The under-16s will provide a great platform for our talented youngsters to represent their country.

“It will help the national team so much as these players prepare for life as an international player.”

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