Posted: Sun 12th Jun 2022

Ice Hockey set to return “with a bang” in October, Deeside Dragons announce

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jun 12th, 2022

Ice Hockey is set to return to Deeside Leisure Centre “with a bang” in October say the club whose home it has been for the last decade.

The Deeside Dragons Ice Hockey Club have signalled their intention to ice in the National Ice Hockey League (NHIL) Division 1 North for the forthcoming season.

It follows a two-year hiatus from competitive matches for the club after the ice rink in Deeside was commandeered by the health board and converted into a hospital at the start of the pandemic.

The hospital was stood down last year but the ice rink was then repurposed into a mass vaccination clinic in January 2021.

The Deeside vaccination centre played a key role in the fight against COVID-19, and was hailed a great success by delivering more than 220,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to the local population.

The ice rink being converted into a temporary ‘Rainbow Hospital’ at the start of the pandemic

To the excitement of fans, the club revealed on Facebook last week: “Work is now well underway for the return of ice hockey at Deeside!”

“The Dragons plan on icing a D1 team pending league approval, works are expected (on the rink) to be completed October time.”

The Dragon’s last competitive match was a 3-2 win over the fierce rival Widnes Wild in March 2020.

Speaking to Deeside.com on Friday, Jakob Forster from the Dragons said: “The ice rink is planned to be back up and open in October.”

“The Dragons are looking to go up to NHIL Division 1 – which is pending approval from the league –  but we want to come back to Deeside with a bang.”

Jakob said: “We want to come back with really good hockey and get people invested in the Dragons again after such a long break.”

“It’s been a frustrating time away from the ice but we totally understand and support the reasons why the rink was used.”

“It has been a very long two years, we’ve got a lot of Dragons faithful who have missed us.”

“Want to bring a really competitive brand of hockey back to Deeside, I think the community deserves it, I think the people behind the scenes deserve it and I think the players deserve it.” He said.

Following the end of the first lockdown period and with no sign of Deeside Ice Rink reopening, many Dragon players joined ice hockey clubs over the border in Blackburn, Telford, Nottingham, Bradford and Altrincham.

Jakob said there are, however a “lot of local players who didn’t want to travel, where Deeside is in their blood and are desperate to pull on the Dragons jersey and get out on the ice.”

In terms of the next generation of Dragons players, the two-year break has decimated the club’s youth teams.

“Young players have put down roots, they’ve joined the likes of Manchester Storm Academy and Junior Widnes Wild teams, it is going to be a challenge for us to get the junior system back up and running quickly, it could take a few years.” Jokob said.

For now, it’s fingers crossed that the senior Dragons team get Division 1 approval.

“We are waiting for approval, we want to play Division 1 hockey when we return, but if that falls through, fine but there will still be senior hockey at Deeside.” Jakob said.

The season begins in August which means the Dragons will be on the road until the home rink opens in October.

“We will be playing a lot of away games, Jakob said, “but then we will make a big song-dance about the first home game at the Den for two years in October.” He added.

In terms of the ice rink itself, work is continuing to bring it back up to standard, some parts are having to be made in Canada and flown in which is scheduled to happen over the summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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