Former Nottingham Panthers forward and GB international David Clarke is launching a new hockey academy in Nottingham in conjunction with the National Ice Centre.
The academy will enable players to come to Nottingham on a weekly basis and gain high-end on-ice development, overseen by leading coaches and players to develop in three essential areas; skating, skills and compete levels.
Clarke has been running his hockey school, Clarke and Co, since 2008 and has clinics across the country, including Nottingham, Gillingham, Leeds, Peterborough and Widnes.
He had a glittering career as a player for club and country and is synonymous with Nottingham and the National Ice Centre since arriving in the city in 2003. His number 5 shirt was retired by the Panthers when he finished playing in April 2018.
The National Ice Centre via the Nottingham junior ice hockey system has created dozens of players who have gone on to play the sport at the top level, most recently Robert Lachowicz and Ollie Betteridge, who both have gone on to represent the Panthers and Great Britain. Betteridge is also a product of the Clarke and Co Academy.
“The reason why I have been keen to commit to a programme like this is that the current system for developing our aspiring junior hockey players just isn’t quite cutting it,” said Clarke. “This is no fault of the junior clubs and coaches. Our junior clubs have limited ice time to spread across all members and they are designed to cater for everyone, which is why it is such great environment to be a part of.
“Not every player who commits to suiting up in ice hockey equipment on a weekly basis is in pursuit to taking their talents as far as they possibly can, which is quite normal across amateur sports. Currently here in the UK we see so many of our young talented players move away from home at a young age in pursuit of high-end tuition and more ice time. This comes at a substantial cost in many ways.
“We were keen to bridge that gap by bringing a similar development opportunity on a weekly basis and support existing process, so players will now be able to join us to improve and then return to their clubs in better physical, mental and playing shape. Nottingham is now my home and with the fantastic relationship we have developed with Martin Ingham and the National Ice Centre over the past number of years, our off-season clinics have gone from strength to strength.
“This opportunity to host an innovative way of developing young players in the best ice facility in the UK couldn’t be missed and for me personally it’s great to tap into my experience and understanding to give back to the grassroots of the game, which is an area I have openly expressed I feel strongly about improving.
“When I was younger I was very fortunate to gain an opportunity to practice, play and develop alongside current professionals within the game and this is something I feel is essential for our participants to have access to on a weekly basis. We are really looking forward to working with a consistent group of junior hockey players from the local and surrounding areas on a regular basis and provide the exposure their talent and commitment rightfully deserve.”
Martin Ingham, Chief Executive at the National Ice Centre, said: “The National Ice Centre is proud to host events at the pinnacle of British ice hockey – from the Elite League playoff finals to the GB team playing in Olympic Qualifiers and to be the home of the Nottingham Panthers.
“But we are equally proud to be a venue where every week hundreds of children and adults learn, practice and play ice hockey. Our strategy is to ‘maximise the opportunities for people to achieve their potential in ice sports’ and to this end we are absolutely delighted to host Clarke & Co with their passion and commitment to developing young players to excel.
“David’s achievements as a hockey player are truly fantastic but we believe that he has the potential to make an even more important impact on the sport by developing future players and coaches that can take British ice hockey to new heights. We look forward to being a key partner in facilitating the successes of those players and hopefully our superb venue will help to inspire them to be the best hockey player they can be.”
Clarke & Co on-ice academy will consist of…
• 6 hours’ ice time per month (1.5 per week)
• Pre-practice workouts
• Skills trend identification
• Competition analysis
• Annual showcase event to gain maximum exposure, attended by key figures within the British game
• Opportunity to access structured strength and conditioning overseen by Pete Edwards (EP Performance & Nottingham Panthers)
• Cost £185 per month
• David Clarke (Head Coach)
• Euan King (GB Goaltending Coach)
• Pete Edwards
• Two guest elite coaches/instructors will support every week to maintain a fresh environment from both an offence and defensive playing perspective
The Clarke & Co Academy will be open to under-13 to under-18 players only and will be available to limited places for players and goaltenders. Once we are at capacity a waiting list will be created. With the intention of the on-ice academy being to work with a consistent group of players, please consider this as a potential year-round monthly commitment before registering your interest.
To register you interest please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to https://www.clarkeandcohockey.co.uk/clarke-and-co-hockey-academy/on-line/