Meet the current Great Britain Para Ice Hockey Team.
We will add a new profile to the page each week, in the run up to the 2019 IPC World Championships (Pool B), which take place in NOvember 2019 in Berlin, Germany.
Role: Head Coach
Head Coach Ian Offers, has been involved in the sport of Ice Hockey since 1999 when he watched his first game in Finland, whilst working for Nokia.
After years of watching Football, the speed and skill of the sport grabbed his attention. He started working for the Peterborough based Pirates, later to become the Peterborough Phantoms, running their website as well as working on their supporters club and even driving the player’s bus to away games for a number of years.
When he was given the opportunity to try the sport in 2002 his initial foray lasted 2 weeks before he fell and broke his wrist! Once recovered he was back on the ice, signing up to play for the Peterborough Predators.
After a few seasons of playing he sat his Level 1 Coaching Qualification as he wanted to give something back to the sport and help new players. After helping coach the Junior clubs Learn To Play sessions, where he taught children aged 4-9, he moved to help with the Peterborough Under 18s team for 2 seasons. The team contained players who now play for GB Seniors, the Elite League and other British league teams.
After taking a break from coaching for a few seasons, he returned as Head Coach of the newly formed Peterborough Flyers. The Flyers were an adult Learn To Play team, formed from new players to the sport. At the same time, he was also asked to help with the Peterborough Phantoms Para Ice Hockey team.
Initially, he said no to Para Ice Hockey, as the sport was alien to him, but after watching a few training sessions he agreed to join the club. When the then Head Coach left the club, Ian took over as the team became the most successful Para Ice Hockey club in recent years. The Phantoms won the League title in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. They also claimed 3 successive Play-Off Tournament trophies.
In 2015 he was asked to join the Great Britain setup as the assistant Coach and also returned to coaching Ice Hockey after accepting an invite to coach Cambridge University’s Women’s & Development Teams.
In early 2016 he became the Head Coach of the Great Britain Para Ice Hockey Team and his first International tournament was taking the GB team to Japan in November 2016 for the IPC World Championships.
Since Japan he has worked to bring in new development players into the GB Programme to help bring continued growth to the National programme. He will lead the team in November to the IPC World Championsips, Pool B, which will be held in Berlin, Germany. The team will face Germany, Poland, Slovakia, China and Russia in the tournament.
Speaking of the tournament he said “We know the tournament will be hard work, as we are facing a number of strong teams. After Japan in 2016 I set a goal as to where I wanted the team to be, and this tournament will give us the opportunity to benchmark ourselves and hopefully surprise a few teams.
“Most of the team we face will have funding and sponsorship, whereas we are fully self funded, from the monthly 2 day training camps to the tournaments and even down to the GB clothing we have, the team funds themselves. We are working hard to fundraise this year and are always grateful for the support of fans around the country and the GB Supporters Club for their help and support.”
Head Coach of the Great Britain Para Ice Hockey Team
I have a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome which causes my right leg to be extremely painful. I also have a completely numb left leg. I developed my condition in 2011 whilst training to raise funds for Help for Heroes where I was the youngest to do a 40 mile sponsored cycle.
Growing up I always wanted to be an ice hockey player. I grew up skating and would go every opportunity I could. I also had season tickets to watch the Guildford Flames play and I have family that play the sport. After my accident I missed ice hockey and skating a heck of a lot.
Years after my accident one of my basketball teammates got talking to me about ice hockey and invited me to the first GB women’s para ice hockey camp where I got to try the sport and absolutely loved it!
From there I was lucky enough to get to go to Norway and Czech Republic with the girls for developing the women’s sport, where I was also very lucky to be asked to play for the European woman’s team against Canada and USA. It was after this trip that I got invited into the GB men’s program and got to play alongside some really experienced players which really helped massively to improve my game.
When I got the message through that I’d made the men’s team I couldn’t quite believe it being not only the youngest but the only female! I’m really excited for the Worlds and know I’ll learn a lot about the game and hopefully encourage more people male and female to join this incredible sport.
If you would like to support our GB program, a donation can be made by following this link https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/teamgbpih
Joined the team in 2019 and is the youngest member of the GB Para Ice Hockey Team.
Meet Matt Clarkson playing in number 5.
Some say Billy Bridges (Team Canada) has a hard shot, wait till you see Clarkson hit a puck!
I was approached in the gym by Matt Lloyd after Turin 2006 and invited to the upcoming training session at Hull Arena. This led to the opportunity to be part of a team sport, make new friends, travel to many different countries and a new aim of competing in sport at international level.
Little did I know at the time of joining the sport that I would go on to achieve so much at club level as well as becoming a bronze medalist (Nagano 2013) and a leader for Great Britain which I consider huge achievements that I can be proud of.
I’m hoping this year GB can achieve the goals set for this and that I can contribute to this. I’m working hard on ice with my new club Sheffield Steelkings having joined this year from Kingston Kestrels and off ice in the gym to be ready for the upcoming World Championship in Berlin. I want to see the team progress and would love to achieve the ultimate achievement of the team competing again in the Winter Paralympics.
If you would like to make a donation follow this link https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/teamgbpih
Top scorer in the British Para Ice Hockey League for the last few seasons.
I was introduced to try the sport of Para Ice Hockey back in 1997. Pat Bailey ran a taster session to attract new players and said that I should come and give it a go.
This was back in the days when the team was training at Queensferry in North Wales, and after attending I enjoyed the session so much Ithat never looked back!
A year after joiningthe team I represented my country at the 1998 Nagano, Japan, Winter Paralympic Games.
Being a part of the Great Britain team is a great honour for me and has helped me to gain a lot of respect for myself and self discipline. As well as that, being part of something magnificent is very rewarding.
We also hope at the 2019 IPC World Championships later this year we can qualify and progress further to fulfill our dreams of making the next Paralympic winter games at Beijing in 2022.
If you would like to support our in GB program in way of a donation please follow this link https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/teamgbpih
Battling forward now returning to the GB Squad after a break.
I was born with Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus and talipes of both feet, but was always active, mostly trying to keep up with my twin brother Scott. He loved football and I would sit in a net while he shot footballs at me!
I first became a fan of ice hockey when I was about 11 after a friend paid for me to attend a game, while I was recovering from one of my many operations, I became a season ticket holder for Sheffield Steelers Ice Hockey team for many years and still attend matches when I can.
I stated playing competitive sport when I was 13, playing basketball for the Sheffield Steelers Wheelchair basketball club, I also represented and won medals with Yorkshire Juniors in this sport.
I first saw Para Ice hockey at an exhibition game at the Ice hockey playoffs and spent many years looking for a team I could join. When I was attending an Ice hockey match in Hull I was approached and asked if I wanted to try Para Ice hockey, the rest is history.
I started playing as an out skater and attended a competition in Europe, mainly as an observer, with GB, but did get a little ice time. When I returned I volunteered to go into net at training one night and decided that was the position I wanted to play. I became a netminder for Hull and was selected for GB for the winter world cup in Sweden in 2011.Since then I have represented GB at all their major tournaments including the World Championships in Japan where we won a bronze medal. I have also played for a team consisting of many GB players in other tournaments around the world.
In 2014 I was involved in the creation of a new para ice club in Sheffield, I have played for the Sheffield Steelkings since then,
Also in 2014 I was greatly honoured to be selected to be part of the GB Paralympic Inspiration Programme, as part of the programme I attended the winter Paralympics to observe and experience the atmosphere at this major competition.
Playing Para Ice hockey has developed me in many ways; it has developed my self-confidence, my independence and helped me mature from a young adult into a man. I have made many friends from all around the world and visited places around the world. I have also become involved in many community projects by visiting schools and community groups to give a presentations about the sport and raise awareness of it as well as presenting awards at ceremonies run by Sheffield City Council. I also enjoy encouraging and developing new players to the sport.
Being selected as part of the GB Squad means so much to me. It is a great honour to be selected to play for your country, The pride I feel when I wear my team strip and the knowledge of the pride you bring to your family, club and friends is almost indescribable, it also acknowledges the hard work we all put into the sport we all love.
My hopes for the coming year are to perform well in all games to help both my league team and the GB team. I want to continue to support and help all players in the squads I am involved with and promote the sport in whatever way I can. My ambitions are to win the league with the Steelkings, But my biggest ambition/ dream is to win a medal at the World Championships, to hear the national anthem play at the end of a game and then to go on to qualify for the Paralympic winter games. Having experienced them as an observer, it would mean the world for me to play in them.
Employment: Customer Service Assistant.
Other hobbies/ pastimes: Watching ice hockey, going to the gym, going to the cinema, playing X box, playing with my dog and spending time with friends and family.
The last line of defence, and the first name on the teamsheet.