Scotland’s next generation of ice hockey players showcased their talents as the first U11 Conference Series event took place in Dumfries on Saturday.
The Scottish youngsters started the day with a defeat against an impressive South East side, before bouncing back with victories over the Midlands and South West teams.
Scotland produced a rousing finish in the final game of the day to come from behind and secure a 3-3 draw against the North. South East finished the event with a 100% record.
The EIHA and Scottish Ice Hockey formed the U11 series to give the players more competitive games against better players, while a larger squad size enabled the Conferences to bring in fringe and younger players into the system and experience Conference ice hockey for the first time.
Using the normal Conference rules – 3 × 15 minute periods with running clock for periods 1 & 2, stop clock for period 3 – the games were fast and furious with a lot of talented players able to demonstrate their skills.
Organiser Gordon Douglas said: “One event down, two to go and I cannot wait for Sheffield to come round. It was a great day of hockey in Dumfries, with some amazing play from all the conference U11s, which made me realise why I stepped in to help out in this programme.
“After a very early start (I didn’t realise there was a 5.00am on a Saturday!), the players got about their jobs and put on a truly competitive days worth of play, fitting in ten games with each team playing four games and still had the energy to to interact and bond around the rink. Conference in a day – brilliant!
“The South East have set the benchmark for the next event, with an unbeaten four out of four, but the improvements in each team was visible as the day went on, so my expectation is for an even more competitive round of games in January.
“To the coaches a big shout out for their work and thanks to all the staff at the Ice Bowl for making the event run seamlessly (especially the First Lady of the clock, Tracy), Robyn our physio who thankfully didn’t have too busy a day, the Conference chairs and the parent volunteers for their goal judging. These events don’t just happen and need everyone to do a little bit.
“Just to finish off, the quote of the day was from one of the Deeside Dragons senior team, who were up to play the Solway Sharks in the NIHL after our event was finished.
“After watching a particularly impressive passage of play involving Scotland and the North, he turned to one of his teammates and said ‘I reckon they would beat us!'”
The full results from the day were as follows:
Scotland 0-11 South East
North 6-4 Midlands
South West 3-4 South East
Scotland 7-3 Midlands
North 6-5 South West
Midlands 2-11 South East
Scotland 3-2 South West
North 0-3 South East
Midlands 6-4 South West
Scotland 3-3 North
The second event will take place at iceSheffield on Saturday, 6th January, and will follow the same round robin format.
(Image permission: Jim Paterson)