Category Archives: Guest Blogger: Sam

It’s the final countdown

We’ve had our flight times confirmed and the inevitable early start on Sunday is looming.

The larger hockey bag has been dragged out of the shed and extra tape of all sorts and sizes has been ordered.

The schedule for the week has been released to us and it’s a doozy. I thought last year was busy, but this year is chocka.

I sometimes get comments at work that I’m going on a holiday out to Finland. Trust me when I say that I’m not.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that we’re just going out to play hockey. Sure, we’re training once a day and playing 4 games. On top of that we’ve got off ice testing, Strength & Conditioning (so I’ve been told) sessions, and other off ice activities!

We’ll be up at 8am most days and curfew is at 11pm (thereabouts) but I’ve no doubt we’ll all be knackered at the end of each day. Luckily we’ve got 4 meals a day!

Here’s a look at our schedule 🙂england 2014 finland schedule

Trials and Tribulations

Where does it all start? How do you even begin to think about trying out for the Women’s England squad?

Obviously, make sure you play ice hockey & hold a British passport! It also helps to be a lass and be registered with a club. It doesn’t matter if you play for a div 2, div 1 or premier club. What matters is your attitude and effort level.

It’s an oft repeated motto in hockey & exercise circles but it is perfectly true, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

The current set up for the selection of the squad is as follows.

  • Attend North or South trials (dependent on your location)
  • Be invited to attend Combined North & South trials
  • Be invited to attend team training
  • Be selected for the England squad

I make it sound so easy, right?

Here’s what I have personally experienced and how I first got involved.  (I am of course, only speaking for what happens in the South. I understand the North team trial out of Sheffield, but I’m not 100%.)

One of my teammates wanted to try out for the South squad and didn’t want to go by herself. She talked me into going along with her and I’m really glad she did.

Off we trekked to the Lee Valley ice rink in London late on a Saturday night when training started at 10:45pm until 12:15am. Yup. You’re not reading that wrong. We’re then rushing to shower, pack up and get out of the rink and head back home.

I’m glad it’s at the weekend (so that I’ve got time to recover before the working week starts again), I view it as it extra ice and it’s only £10 for an hour & a half of hockey on a decent sized rink.

Previously, the South & North teams would be selected and then there would be 2 games of North vs South. It has only been from this year that there has been combined training with the 2 squads, which is probably more beneficial from the coaches point of view. However, I know many players, including myself, feel as though they perform better in a game scenario. Of course, games aren’t conducive to viewing a players skill sets by a coach in a controlled situation.

Once selected for Combined training, the trials are held up in Sheffield. Still for an hour and a half of ice and still for just £10. Depending on the available times, it is often another late start and a finish of midnight. Cue more rapid showering and getting out of the rink as quickly as possible. After that, the long drive home. 4am finishes have become all too routine for me sadly!

You might think I’m painting a bleak picture but this is what it takes to represent your country. To pull on a shirt for Team England & play hockey requires commitment and dedication.

Waiting for emails to find out if you’ve made the cut can be a bit nervy!

It’s worth it though. You get an incredible opportunity to represent your country, to play hockey in a place you may never have played before, against teams you would never normally get the chance to play against and have experiences that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Guest Blogger!

Bt0Z1XOCEAAEmduHi there!

Kim has asked if I would write some guest posts in regards to the England Women’s Ice Hockey squad. I’m more than happy to do so and will be putting up some posts in the next few days and weeks.

This is merely an introduction post to let you know a little about me.

I’m Sam, I live in Luton, play roller hockey & ice hockey. I’ve played roller hockey for a lot longer than I have ice hockey. I started when I was 11 or 12 back when I lived in South London.

Now that I’ve ‘grown up’, gotten a job and a house; I still need my hockey fix. I’ve been playing ice hockey for 3 years with my local ladies club, the Milton Keynes Falcons in the Premier league, I’ve also had the honour of playing for the England squad. This year I have been picked to represent the country again. (More on that in later posts!)

My first hockey love though, is inline roller hockey. My local club is the Dunstable Gators and we play in the BIPHA South league in Division One down at Bisley. This is a mixed team and I love playing hockey with my boys.

I’ve also represented GB at roller hockey level, back in 2010 and travelled with the squad to LA to play in the AAU tournament. In other hockey travels I’ve played out in Hong Kong in the fantastic annual roller hockey tournament out there and also in the NARCh finals tournament in San Jose. The NARCh tournament has to arguably be the best roller hockey in the world with such an amazing array of talent on display.

Anyway, enough of hockey on wheels, I’m here to talk about my journey onto the England squad both last year and this year and hopefully get some information out there that does not seem to be freely available.

I hope you enjoy my posts and I’ll be back soon! 🙂