Special Hockey International 18th Annual Tournament – London 2012
18th Special Hockey International Annual Tournament
Hosted by the Werewolves of London
at the John Nike Leisuresport Complex, Bracknell, England
The Impact of hosting the Tournament
Work started fundraising and planning over two years ago in 2010 when the club was announced as the hosts for the 2012 Tournament.
The year 2012 is significant for so many reasons with the Olympics/Paralympics, Queens Diamond Jubilee and also the 10th year anniversary of the Werewolves of London’s Special Hockey Clubs formation.
Given the growth of Special Hockey in North America we were extremely honoured to be given the chance to host again 6 years on from the last tournament in England. Our club has grown so much in those 6 years and it was a great opportunity for some of our players to play in their first Special Hockey tournament of any kind.
It was also a great opportunity to promote Special Hockey across the whole of the UK.
For the two years prior to the event we have been promoting the club and the tournament to raise awareness of the sport and to seek sponsorship. These efforts have been rewarded with some exciting developments, new contacts at rinks, clubs, coaches and parents. We found a similar programme – the SPICE Jets operating out of Slough, have seen a new Special Hockey team being formed in the city of Birmingham (BASH – Birmingham Area Special Hockey), and seen free skating programmes in a number of Ice rinks to introduce Ice Skating and Ice Hockey to teenagers and young adults with special needs. We were delighted to welcome representatives of BASH to one of the tournament days and I’m sure they were impressed and excited at what they saw.
We also had some other special guests all the way from Norway. They are looking to form a team in Stavanger and also to promote Special Hockey across the Nordic region. In their two days at the tournament they had the opportunity to meet many coaches and parents and we look forward to hearing how they get on and sharing experiences with them.
The growth of Special hockey – not only in the UK but across Europe is underway making the SHI family bigger and truly international. For teams like ours, the opportunity to visit other local teams becomes a reality and provides some exciting possibilities for our players within the season.
Hosting the tournament in England has been a massive help in getting our club and Special Hockey recognised here and we are very thankful to the Board of Special Hockey International for granting us this prestigious event.
We were delighted to host teams from England, Canada and the USA. Where there were not enough players to ice a whole team, the players were merged with another team. Mississauga Crusaders joined up with Grandravine and Nova Cool Cats with the Werewolves of London. Click on the teams logo to find details on the team.
Butlins and the start of the tournament
The ‘Meet and Greet’ event was held at the Conference Centre, Butlins resort in Bognor Regis on Friday 13th April.
Many of the teams took advantage of the discounted pricing for the accommodation at Butlins. With most the teams staying together and the events onsite, this prevented extra travel time and costs, gave more flexibility to those staying there and the ability for teams to spend time together when they were not playing.
Teams assembled outside the Rendezvous suite excited and eager. Most had travelled long distances during the day so this was a time for some of them to relax and enjoy renewing friendships.
After a brief welcome, the teams paraded into the room to a round of applause. This was followed by the national anthems for each of the countries and the handing out of tournament ‘goody bags’ to the players.
For the event ‘Papa Johns’ Pizza was served alongside free soft drinks. Demand for the Pizza was high and we kept the Pizza shop staff extremely busy – we sure had some hungry people!! Those still with some energy found time to dance along to the music and show their other talents!
The tournament had now begun!
The games were all played at the John Nike Leisuresport complex in Bracknell, Berkshire.
The first game was between the Werewolves of London and the North York Gladiators. Before the game commenced, the puck was dropped by the Mayor of the Borough of Bracknell Forest – Councillor Chris Turrell and Mayoress Ms Diana Henfrey.
The Mayor was presented with a Tournament Medal as a symbol of our gratitude.
We have since received a message of thanks from the Mayor to say what a privilege it was to ‘drop the puck’.
The teams were all winners with the players exhibiting the elements which makes special hockey great – spirit, determination and sportsmanship.
|The clip on the right is from a game between the Cambridge Ice Hounds (in Blue) and the Werewolves of London and captures perfectly why this event is like no other.|
Details of all the games played can be found below;
We also had a few competitions running during the week . Thanks to Tracey Shepherd for devising and running these throughout the game days.
The winners are shown below;
50/50 Draw – Ticket #102 (£67 prize)
Guess the tube station to win ‘London’ the Bear – Winning tube station was Kew Gardens. The winner was Taryn Mikjaniec
Bracknell Bees Game Worn players shirt Auction (donated by Bracknell Bees Supporters Club)
A genuine game shirt worn by former GB U20 player Tom Duggan for the senior team ‘Bracknell Bees’ who play out of the Bracknell rink
Highest bid £40 by Mike Mogford
Congratulations to our winners and thank you to everyone who took part. The funds raised will go back into our programme and help us put smiles on more faces.
The banquet was held at the Reds venue in the Butlins Resort at Bognor Regis.
Over 300 players, families and friends attended the event. We were delighted to see so many and to honour the players with their tournament medals for their efforts.
The Butlins team did a great job of setting up the venue for us and providing the food and entertainment.
After the hot buffet meal and desserts, there were speeches from the hosts Mike Dwyer, SHI President Mike Liotta and a representative for the next Special Hockey International Tournament being held in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
See http://www.shikitchener2013.ca/ for more details
The all important award ceremony followed where every team came onto the stage to a round of applause and to have their photos taken.
A disco carried on into the night. Some photos of the award ceremony can be found on our photos page.
As anyone who has hosted will know, the tournament doesn’t take weeks or even months to deliver but years and a big thanks first of all go to the Werewolves players, coaches, families and their friends for their fundraising efforts through a variety of different means including sponsored walks, raffle ticket and cake sales.
They volunteered, took time off work and were the match day team who worked their socks off. We are incredibly grateful for their friendship and selfless attitude.
English Ice Hockey Association
Mohammed Ashraf – EIHA Referee in Chief
John Nike Leisuresport Complex
George Black and his team
Instill-uk – Roy Duggan
Werewolves of London
Werewolves volunteer coaches and management committee members inc.
Neal O’ Gorman
Streatham Ice Hockey Club
Butlins, Bognor Regis
Tournament Sponsors and Supporters
The Henry Smith Charity
W&H Motors Ltd
Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners
Canadian Spa Company
i4c Publicity Ltd
Embassy of Man
FastEye Computing Ltd
Bracknell Bees Supporters Club
Meg Fretwell and Rose Gregory