The biggest festival of junior ice hockey in the UK starts tonight in Sheffield as the 22nd EIHA Junior Inter Conference Tournament begins with the now traditional England-Scotland U19 international.
Ice Sheffield is hosting 45 games across the weekend with almost 450 players plus hundreds more officials and supporters travelling from all corners of the UK to be part of the Conference weekend.
Tonight’s junior international faces off at 8pm and admission this evening is free for all spectators. The tournament proper begins at 7am on Saturday morning as teams from Scotland, Northern England, the Midlands, South East and South West do battle at u11, u13, u15 and u17 age groups.
Tournament director Geoff Hemmerman said: “We are pleased to be back at Ice Sheffield for the 22nd Conference Tournament and hope all players, staff and supporters truly enjoy their Conference experience.
“It is an eagerly anticipated weekend in the hockey calendar and an event we are rightly proud of – having over 400 players playing so many games at one venue is a fantastic sight and is truly the jewel in the EIHA Junior Leagues crown.”
This year’s tournament is also giving something back with news that the RNLI have been chosen as the official charity of the JLMC meaning fundraising at three big playoff weekends throughout May.
Last year over £6,000 was raised for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Fundraising will take place at Conference weekend, Junior Finals (14/15 May) and Womens Trophy Weekend (28/29 May).
For supporters unable to attend the Conference weekend, updates will be regularly available via the official tournament Twitter account @EIHAConference while for the second year running all games on Pad 1 will be streamed by 247.tv starting with tonight’s international. Each match is £3 on a pay per view basis. Download and replay options are also available. Details are on http://www.247.tv/live/ice-hockey/eiha-conference-finals-2016
Tonight’s England-Scotland game is free admission. Tournament entry tickets are: Adults – £20 weekend pass, £10 day ticket. Children £10 weekend pass, £5 day ticket.