Plans for a flying start

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THE Fylde coast’s new icehockey team have recruited an Olympian to help them prepare for their first national league campaign next month.

The Fylde Flyers are being coached by Polish guru Andrzej Walicki, who took charge of his country’s Olympic squad and has been pushing the squad hard ahead of their eagerly awaited north div ision two campaign.

The Flyers, based at Sub Zero Ice Arena in Cleveleys, are the first Fylde club to compete in the English Ice Hockey since Blackpool Seagulls around 20 years ago.

The league, which gets under way on September 3, will also include Flintshire Freeze, Sutton Sting, Bradford Bulldogs, Sheffield Senators, Kingston (Hull) Jets, local rivals Lancashire Raptors and Solway Sharks (the first Scottish team in the ENL).

The Flyers will play all seven teams four times, twice at home and twice away, with all the matches on Saturday evenings.

Lindsey Wolstencroft is conducting the Flyers’ off-ice training before the intensive 90-minute sessions with Walicki.

The Flyers currently have a squad of 16 players, nine of whom are based on the Fylde coast.

They include teacher and veteran defenceman Mark Gillingham, who has moved across from the Raptors after more than 500 games for the Blackburn club, where he will continue to coach juniors in Blackburn.

Another Blackpool-based former Raptor is Bobby Caunce, one of the league’s leading marksmen, while Kurtis Hall is a son of former Seagulls player Bobby Hall. All three have played together since their junior days, and the Flyers are hoping to confirm two overseas recruits shortly.

Anyone else interested in playing for the club is invited the contact team manager Mick Caunce on 07595 393277.