Monday 3 June 2024

Wild Academy Call Ups For Showcase and Home Internationals

 Rhys Edwards in action for England U18s against Scotland – photo by Laura Trivet

A number of Wild Academy junior players were included in the prestigious “Showcase” event at Sheffield over the Bank Holiday weekend. 

Ethan Liversage and Caleb Eddleston were both selected to play for Under 12 teams at the tournament, Jared Knowles as an Under 16 and Euan Cunningham, Zoja Skriniar, Sam Ives & Adam Nowak were all called up to play in the “Mites / Mighty Mites” event for younger players born in 2015,16 and 17.

Wild Academy Head Coach Mike Gilbert was appointed to run one of the Under 16 teams and Debbie Alston was selected to be Manager for an Under 15 team.

This event was for a long time known as “Conference Weekend” and brought together representative teams from the North, the Midlands, the South East and the South West at different age levels to play each other in a weekend tournament.

However, the English Ice Hockey Association – who rebranded themselves “England Ice Hockey” this year and who have recently been driven to change / improve everything – have renamed the tournament weekend as “Showcase”.  They have also removed the regional composition of the teams, replacing it with a “draft” format based on player ratings from club coaches and with the teams instead being named in honour of recent Team GB senior players.

Unfortunately this means that, while the fact that one of the Wild players has been named on the “Team Bowns” Under 12 team and another on the “Team Richardson” Under 12s is still a great honour for the players concerned as well as a good all round advert for the Wild Academy junior development programme – and the games obviously mean a lot to those who are organising them and playing in them at the actual event - the individual weekend results between these variously composed, and non-geographic, teams mean comparatively little to the outside world.

England v Scotland U18/U19

Widnes Wild NIHL player Rhys Edwards was selected to play for the England Under 18 team in a series of games against Scotland U19s (Scottish ice hockey use different age groups to those in England)

The Scotland U19 line up also included a number of Wild NIHL players - Kyle Carruth, Owen Rae, Torran Anderson, Bailey Thomson and Flynn Massie - and the Scotland team coach was Wild NIHL player coach Joey Coulter.

The first two games took place at iceSheffield during the Showcase junior weekend and saw England win the first game 5-1 and lose the second game 0-3.

There were two return games played in Dumfries the following weekend as part of a wider Scotland v England national tournament, with Under 15 and Under 17 teams also taking part. The Scots won both those games - 7-2 and 5-2 – to win the series by 3 games to 1 and secure the annual Frank Dempster Memorial Trophy.