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Training Grant Is Hockey Team's Icing On The Cake

Published: 26 Jan 2016   updated: 12 Apr 2016

Members of the RAF Cosford Stars ice hockey team are celebrating after receiving a £2,000 grant to help with grass roots training. 

The money, awarded by the RAF Charitable Trust, is already being put to good use with the first training session held on January 11. Club Treasurer Sgt Jennie Anstey explained: "The club focuses on taking players from their first steps onto the ice all the way to representing the Station at RAF and inter-service competitions. The grassroots training will run for 20 weeks and the money will help in paying for a coach, increasing ice time and buying three additional training kits."

Jennie added: "The team will be entering the Tri-service championships in June when all new players who meet the standard will be invited to represent the Station."

After the first training session, new signings Aircraftmen Johann Sponneck and Jasper Neal, who are both on the Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic course at RAF Cosford, reported back.

Ac Sponneck said: "I'm really enjoying the hockey training and I'm glad I've found a sport that I can carry through my career. Starting as a complete novice I was surprised at how much harder it is than it looks, but the new coach is brilliant: he explains all of the drills in simple terms and I can feel myself becoming more confident already. I'm glad I took the dive and tried ice hockey as it's turned out great."

Ac Neal added:  "I can't believe how much I have learnt in such a short space of time. It is so much fun even when I fall over . . . which I do a lot."

The RAF Cosford Stars is now at capacity, with a waiting list of over 15 potential players. 

Jennie said: "The enthusiasm and commitment to the club and late-night training sessions shown by the students has been fantastic: they come off the ice with huge smiles on their faces and can't wait for the next session. The grant has meant we can now open up the sport to all players, regardless of ability. Many of the current group will be leaving Cosford in March, but they now have the skills required to join one of the other RAF Teams (Bluewings, Vulcans or Jets) dependent on their postings.  

"The Stars also have a small number of civillians on the team, two of whom have applied to join the RAF in the last six months. Although the Stars is not primarily a recruiting tool, I feel that the experiences gained and the honest insights given have gone a long way towards the applications.

"On behalf of the committee I would like to say a huge thank you to the Trustees for making this possible."

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