Yes, there is an ice hockey team at UEA and no, sadly there is no rink in Norwich. We head on over to Peterborough for our training, two hours every fortnight. It’s an hour and a half away, but it’s well worth the trip.
The team, Avalanche (or just Avs to everyone who knows us), is fortunate to have some extremely dedicated members, a large part of which is down to the family atmosphere that the team has. Last year the Avs took on teams from all over the country in chilly combat, accompanied by our B team, who we’ve affectionately nicknamed the Abs!
It was the first time in history that UEA has been able to take two teams to nationals. This year we’re building on that success, and we hope to run some dedicated development team games and get the Abs to nationals with us again this year. With a game pencilled in with Kent, the whole team is excited to get even more ice time this year.
The biggest change this year for the team is the movement from Division 3 South Non-checking (we still play a contact sport, but you are no longer allowed to intentionally skate hard into opponents), to Division 2. After winning 9 out of our 10 games last year, the Avs are presented with the challenge of tougher teams, especially after saying goodbye to some of last year’s players. But it is a great opportunity for the team.
The sport is still attracting wide appeal this year, taking in plenty of new players, who all showed great promise in their initial training, filling the whole team with confidence. It was clear that everyone was excited to get back on the ice, especially with many players having had the summer off. We went through several drills, ending the night with a scrim (a small practice game).
It’s exciting to see how many women the team now has. As we’re a mixed team it’s always nice to see as many of them on the ice as possible. But it would be wrong of me to suggest that hockey was the only ice-related sport on offer. UEA Ice also has dedicated figure skaters, as well as rec skaters who come along each week to get on the ice.
With figure skating competitions being held later in the year, now is an excellent time to get into winter sports at UEA.