My name is Sebastian Darlaston-Jones. I first came across ice hockey whilst watching the Winter Olympics from Sochi in 2014. I fell in love with the sport straight away and realised I wanted to play. My parents gave me ice skating lessons at Ryde Arena for my 8th birthday in March 2014. After great coaching from Terri and Matt I gained my level 10 skating award and several sessions of power hour at Ryde Arena with Tom, I joined the U12 junior Wightlink Raiders hockey team. After my first season with the team, we finished bottom of our league! Following some fantastic coaching from the coaching staff at junior Raiders, the next season the team finished 3rd from top of the league! We started the 2016/17 season with high hopes of an even better league position and started the season with some really great results. It was at this point I was told I had been selected to attend trials for South West England Conference team. Shortly after this the rink was closed at short notice, and I knew I would struggle being part of this selection process due to having no ice time! This has resulted in many late return sailings, often on the 3am ferry after training sessions with mainland clubs and having to work extra hard to gain my place in the SW team. I attend off ice training with my Raiders team mates, but this doesn't make up for the lost ice time. If I am to continue my dream of becoming a professional ice hockey player and my team mates are too, it is really important that Ryde Arena ice rink is re opened before the start of the 2017/18 season.
I also enjoyed going to the ice rink to skate for leisure. I attended the disco sessions on a Friday evening, where I met and skated with lots of new friends whom I would only see at the ice rink. There are no places where young people can meet up, listen to good music, skate and have fun in a safe environment.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Mr AEW let us have our ice rink back so my friends and I can follow our dreams!