Ice hockey Flyers ready for take-off

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The Fylde coast is about to return to the national ice hockey scene after 20 years.

Fylde Flyers have been accepted into north division two of the English National League, which starts in September, and now they face a race against time to raise their team.

The Flyers will be the flagship team of the Fylde Coast Ice Hockey Club based at the new Sub Zero Rink in Cleveleys.

The club is already holding twice weekly sessions for beginners of all ages, with a view to launching junior teams next year.

The Flyers have held their first trial, with around 30 experienced players expressing an interest.

Several members of the coaching team played for the Fylde’s last National League team, Blackpool Seagulls.

The Seagulls folded two decades ago, having been a force in the sport for almost half a century. The highpoint of their history was winning the National Play-offs at Wembley in 1982.

Ex-Seagulls players involved with the new club include Maurice Wise, Gary Shearman, Garry Fearon and Darryl Kenyon.

Blackpool-based Mick Caunce, who is widely experienced in roller and icehockey management, is a driving force behind the new venture, and he has no doubt the Flyers will be able to assemble a competititive side over the summer.

Mick, from Finsbury Avenue, said: “Ever since the Seagulls went out of existence, the Fylde coast has continued to produce top talent. It’s just that they’ve had to go to Blackburn to play.

“A lot of people go through the junior system in Blackburn but then can’t find a team to play for as adults and are lost to the sport, so we are confident that the talent is out there.”

The open sessions take place from 6-7.30pm each Thursday and Sunday, with equipment provided. A second Flyers trial is planned.