Power of 12 group embark on once-in-a-lifetime trip

Last month, some of the country’s top young hockey players took part in a once-in-a-lifetime training camp in Slovakia, as part of the England National Team Programme (ENTP).

This year’s Power of 12 cohort – selected after a series of talent ID and development days at the end of 2023 – enjoyed on and off-ice learning in Slovakia, whilst also being given the opportunity to test themselves against some of the best young teams and players from across the region.

In addition to some inter-team scrimmage action, the players were treated to a surprise bonus training session with legendary power skating coach Peter Bohunicky – who works with a number of NHL players in the summers, and also last year at Florida Panthers’ training camp as a skills coach.

The Power of 12 class of ‘24 also had the opportunity for some down time, which they used to explore their local surroundings.

Seth Bennett, Power of 12 head coach, said: “The programme was always designed to be a short, sharp opportunity for work at a higher level for all of the players involved.

“Over the four development camps and talent ID days, we have worked with just shy of 100 players in the 2012 birth year. For the England programme, it is vital we know who is out there and where they are, especially at this stage of their development.

“The plan was to take 32 players and four goalies away and give them an immersive hockey experience in Slovakia, training at least twice a day and playing games against some of the best Slovak players out there.

“Over the five days, the players were on the ice 16 times and played six games in total. They acquitted themselves very well and adapted to being away from family, and to a high standard of hockey.

“As one of the early steps on the pathway for England, the players now know what it takes to reach the next level and had a great time playing with new players and making new friends.

“It is a really talented group, and the coaching group got loads out of them. With trips like this, you are totally dependent on buy-in from the volunteers, and our managers and coaches have been outstanding, but also from the parents and the Slovak teams. Dukla Trencin and Považská Bystrica were great hosts, and we played some terrific, competitive games.

“The ‘Power of…’ programme is hugely important for England Ice Hockey, and the players who joined us in Slovakia left as better players, with a great life experience.

“Looking at the bigger picture, the hope is that the ENTP will give players the tools and experiences they need for GB to have success at U18s, U20s and senior levels, and it all starts with this first trip.”

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