It all started in 2011 with Martin's eldest son Rhys was introduced to ice skating and the game of ice hockey. He was a familiar face in the good old disco sessions then moving onto power hour he developed an interest for hockey. With his ability improving he then signed for the Isle of Wight Junior Raiders under 14s continuing right through to under 18’s.
From that date our family life changed for the better, Martin and his 3 boys enjoyed supporting the Juniors and the thrill of watching the Senior Raiders at the Ryde arena on a Saturday night. Sunday nights traditionally Senior Raiders away games involved being huddle around the phone for the updates via Facebook. Life became Tuesday, Thursday nights junior training Friday night disco session, Saturday night watching the Senior Raiders play and Sundays was Junior gam
es home and away. Our lounge then become a hockey practising area in winter and in summer it was my garden where all 3 boys and Martin would play (rough at times and very sweaty) Rhys become passionate and focused week in week out, enjoying training and away matches making many new friends.
In the meantime Lewis started power hour during which he found his love for the sport and in 2014 joined Under 15s Junior Raiders. He loved being part of a team. He had a clear focus for his week.
My son George hit the ice aged 7 years old wanting to follow in his brother’s foot steps to be able to skate. He was like Bambi on ice but with a penguin! He was determined and pushed hard to be the same as his brothers, week in week out he practised at public skating and eventually when he could skate so joined power hour to learn the art of hockey. His love and passion grew. He joined the under 13s Junior Raiders in 2014, from that date we never looked back for all 3 boys.
George from that date grew as person, thriving at anything that was thrown at him, he would do as much training as he could and absorbed everyone’s input to become better including that of Bobby Streetly (Raiders defenceman) who he looked up to. He was also supported and guided kindly by Hockey legend Jason Coles his committed coach. In this time he was chosen for the South West trails, and enjoyed the challenge.
He collected some awards along the way but one he is most proud of and adores is the Ross Hayward award achievement award which is presented by the club yearly, this award is given to children that have excelled in the sport and show extreme passion. The award meant a lot to him and us that they had recognised and acknowledge his talent couldn’t make us happier because although he faces the daily struggles of being dyslexic he finally found his roots. He lives and breathes ice hockey, spending hours watching YouTube footage of games and techniques to better himself.
While all this was going on Martin was pressurized by Ann Tavner (IWJIHC Chairperson) in to help out by being a hockey coach. I think the words where “Martin you can skate fancy doing your level 1” to which he agreed. Martin did get out on the ice every week assisting with all age groups from the beginners right up to the under 18’s and loves being a part of the club or as we call it, our Hockey family.
Being an ice hockey player has given 3 boys independence, putting on their kit and getting on the ice helped with their confidence and inner aggression in a positive and controlled way. They loved going away to different places on a coach with their friends making them grow as individuals. We have watched these children go out on the ice to play games and win or lose always come back with a smile on their face.
Their Grandma has closely followed her grandchildren watching their matches and helping raise money for the club at Charity events.
My daughter of 3 has been on the ice since she was 18 months old in the public sessions. Would she be our next generation ice hockey or figure skater? We may never know.
The sad part: we will be letting our children down and letting the next generation of sport talent within our Island be lost. To represent the Isle of Wight in any sport is an honour and saddens me we might be losing it forever, young and old.
What this sport has given all of us is a very special. It is a unique sport and we thank everyone who has given my family opportunities to grow and stay positively focused.