Flying Ducks on Tour 2015
The Flying Ducks are a newly formed team comprising the Flyers Ice Hockey and Dublin Ducks ice hockey clubs. The team ices teams across several age ranges and are also participants in the Irish Ice Hockey Association Junior Development Squad.
The team was contacted about the possibility of hosting a team from the United Kingdom for a game but due to the lack of an ice rink in the Republic of Ireland and the off season at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast the trip could not happen. The Coventry Blaze Academy host an annual junior ice hockey tournament called the Godiva Cup and the invitation for a team from Ireland was extended. It was agreed that the team would attend and the planning got underway. The team departed from Dublin Port early on Friday morning (01 May) with Stenaline who have been exceptional in their support for the team.
The first team up for the Godiva Cup were the Under 12’s team who had four games to play. They played against teams from Coventry, Solihull and Lee Valley. The team played outstandingly. The UK teams play regularly and have full sized permanent ice rinks. The Flying Ducks first game ended 1-0 and the following game 0-0. These were treated like wins to the team as they were playing on full ice for the very first time against established teams. The third and then final game saw the children lose to a bigger margin due to fatigue and the talent of the opponents. However, the Flying Ducks were no walkover and played their hearts out.
The Under 10 Flying Ducks played on Sunday 3rd of May and it was immediately apparent that they were going to challenge hard for the Godiva Cup. At one stage they were winning by 3 goals to 1 against one of the stronger teams to then lose out 4 to 3. Not content with an almost win; the under 10s then went out and played back to back games against Nottingham beating them comprehensively both times. The level of skill on display was a joy to behold.
Following the under 10s Godiva Cup the Flying Ducks under 16s took on Coventry Blaze in a challenge game. This game had the most potential for a display of skilled hockey as these were the older players and the tempo was expected to be raised. The game did not disappoint. End to end hockey with goals galore on both sides. The teams played their hearts out and the level of skill on display was superb. The Flying Ducks lost that game 8-4 but they gained the respect and praise of the entire stadium which was packed with spectators.
The team finished off the Bank Holiday weekend with a trip to the World famous Drayton Manor theme park. Here the players got to unwind and chill out before travelling back to Dublin that evening.
The Flying Ducks team were led by President Aisling Daly, Head Coach Giorgio Pavesio and his assistant coaches Will Fitzgerald and Chris Wheeler.
During the games it was evident that the Flying Ducks had greatly benefited from the temporary ice rinks in Dublin. The last rink closed its doors in March. The Flying Ducks have already been invited back to Coventry next year; a trip everyone cannot wait to happen.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Steve O’Neill and Jo Thompson, our points of contact in Coventry, for their support and assistance in the lead up to the Godiva Cup tournament, while we were in Coventry and following our return. Our thanks also goes to our hosts Coventry Blaze Academy.
The trip would not have been possible without huge support from players, parents, volunteers, drivers, sandwich makers etc. In short, dozens of people. Thank you for everything.
Ireland does not have a full sized permanent ice rink. The Flying Ducks played superbly in the UK following a number of weeks on a small sized ice rink in Dublin. All of the team executive and coaching staff firmly believe that Ireland has a place to take on the World ice hockey stage. We just need a helping hand. A permanent ice rink has great potential and is a magnet for those wishing to try a new dynamic sport like ice hockey. We are certain that if a permanent ice rink is built that he sport will explode in popularity.
Flying Ducks Ice Hockey Club