Chasing Dreams – Phantoms Hockey Juniors in Conversation !

“It really is amazing and if you want to achieve your dream then work hard …… the coaches and players here will help you achieve it all”

I recently had the real privilege to talk hockey with five youngsters who are working their way through the Phantoms Development Programme and who were quite happy to reveal all about their hockey parents, some crazy superstitions and a real love for James Ferrara and Tom Norton …… and why not ?!!!

Take a bow Phoebe Mather, Lewis Griffen, Luke Clark, Levi Carr and Billy Thorpe ……….

Okay introductions …… name, age, position, team and we’ll do Ladies first Phoebe !

Phoebe: “I’m 14 years old and I play D for Phantoms Under 15s”

Levi: “I’m 9 years old and I play centre for Phantoms Under 11s”

Lewis: “I play D for Phantoms Under 9s ….. and I’m 8”

Billy: “13 years old and I play D for Phantoms Under 13s”

Luke: “Netminder for Phantoms Under 18s and I’m 15”

So when did you all first start playing hockey and what was it that made you want to start ?

Levi: “It was 2 years and 1 month ago for me and I was only 7. I kept watched the film Mighty Ducks and really wanted to play ice hockey”

Lewis: “I was 6 when I started two years ago ….. I saw my Mum’s friend Mark play hockey at David Clarke’s hockey camp and I wanted to try”

Billy: “I first started playing in April 2012 when I was aged 7. I wanted to start after regularly watching the senior Phantoms.”

Phoebe: ” I was 8 and I just thought it looked fun !”

Luke: “I was only 5 when I first started playing after I’d been watching the Phantoms senior team play.”

…… and what did your parents have to say when you announced that you wanted to play hockey ?

Levi: “My mum definitely didn’t want me to start as she was scared I would hurt myself but Dad was happy for me to try a new sport …… and Mum loves me playing now !”

Lewis: “They said okay ….. but you have to learn to skate first !!!”

Billy: “Something like …… oh no that’s gonna cost a fortune ?!!!”

Phoebe: “They were very supportive and were keen on me starting”

Luke: “It was my Dad who first asked me if I would like to go to and learn to play on a Saturday morning and I was obviously excited at trying the sport I liked most”

What do you think of the support your parents give you ?

Levi: “They give me really good support and they always take me to all my training and games and like to cheer me on”

Lewis: “I’m grateful and happy because they support me a lot”

Billy: “Both my parents give me great support and they push me to get better”

Phoebe: “Amazing …… without them I wouldn’t have even started playing”

Luke: “My parents have supported me all the way with everything I’ve wanted to do with my career from letting me first go in goal to supporting me all the way to GB roller hockey. As a player and as a son I am overjoyed with the support they have given me”

Appreciate its very early days for all of you but what’s been your greatest and most enjoyable moment as a young player to date ?

Levi: “There’s way too many but I think my favourite was when I got to meet the whole GB team and got to ask them questions …… and then I was on the TV show Blue Peter and got my badge that was a great day !”

Lewis: “Definitely my first goal !”

Billy: “My greatest moment so far was making the England U13 team earlier this year but my most enjoyable moments are always spending time with my teammates”

Phoebe: “I would say making the England and GB girls teams”

Luke: “I would go for the most enjoyable moment as a hockey player being when we won the Under 15’s National Finals in Sheffield last summer”

You may definitely be too young for this one but have you developed any hockey superstitions yet ? If so, care to share ?!!!

Levi: “Sort of I guess …… I always go in my back garden to practice shots before going to the rink on game day”

Lewis: “Nope ….. don’t have any yet !”

Billy: “Always after the National Anthem I skate a figure of eight between the red and blue lines as fast as I can !”

Phoebe: “When I’m getting changed, I do my right side first and then my left …… oh, and I always wear the same socks !”

Luke: “I’m afraid I have more than one ! They start when I get to the rink …… I like to put all of my kit out and have it ready and then I’ll get ready for warm up. After warm up I like to have a moment to myself to stretch and think about the game ahead. When I’m on the ice I then stretch out on the edge of the centre circle …… and I have to go and touch the centre spot before going to the net ….. and there’s more ! When the game is about to start, I touch the floor, both posts, the cross bar and then turn for the team talk in front of net after which I have a fist bump with my defender George Lumsden ……. and then touch each post four times ! Even in the game itself, when play is called dead I have to touch the post and touch the boards in the corner ….. and then touch the post again before play restarts !!!”

I’m lost for words Luke !!!

So time to embarrass some of your teammates ….. who amongst the juniors you play alongside or have played alongside would you pick out and say “he will be something special” as a senior ?

Levi: “Wow ….. there’s so many good players but I think Lewis Byrne as he really is good and he tries really hard”

Lewis: “I’d say Oscar Overall, Ethan Kuklis, Ben Saville and AJ Herring …… all Under 9’s players that I play with right now”

Billy: “I think Brad Bowering is the best player I have ever played with and I think he will have a really big future.”

Phoebe: “Definitely Ross Clarke”

Luke: “In my team, I’d have to say forward Jarvis Hunt who has been called forward to play with Phantoms first team”

…… and is there a senior Phantoms player you look up to and who inspires you ?

Levi: “James Ferrara …… because he’s a really good captain and a great person”

Lewis: “Tom Norton for me”

Billy: “I also like the way Tom Norton plays ….. he’s a real solid D man”

Phoebe: “Again James Ferrara for me”

Luke: “From when I first started watching hockey I always looked up to goalies Stephen Wall and Euan King ….. and now I have the honour of training with and getting coached by Euan”

Do you have any ambitions as hockey players yet ? If so, what would be your dream personal achievement ?

Levi: “My dream would be to make it to Team GB and play in the Elite League …… but my biggest dream would be the NHL of course !”

Lewis: “I want to play for the Phantoms seniors …… and play for Team GB”

Billy: “I also want to play for the senior Phantoms one day and then maybe the Elite League …… ideally with Nottingham Panthers !”

Phoebe: “I’d love to be able to play a World Championships at Under 18s GB girls team”

Luke: “As a hockey player, I’ve always wanted to play Elite League hockey or go somewhere in Europe and play out there as a starting goalie”

Last but not least, what would you say to other kids thinking of taking up hockey here in Peterborough ?

Levi: “I’d say just try it as it’s amazing and the team and coaches are really nice …… they help you out a lot and all the team try and help each other out too. For example, the other day I was at training and was struggling with a skating drill. My coach was helping one of the other boys but my teammate Louie helped me do it properly and that helped me a lot. You just need to practice loads and keep dedicated and not give up”

Lewis: “Give it a go ….. it’s great fun and you make lots of friends. You get to learn something new every time you go on the ice”

Billy: “Ice hockey is a great sport to get involved in and you make really good friends. Here at Peterborough they really encourage you to become part of a team and push you to become a better player”

Phoebe: “It really is amazing and if you want to achieve your dream then work hard …… the coaches and players here will help you achieve it all”

Luke: “I’d say go for it and see where it takes you. Peterborough, as a club, develops players into professionals and offers them the opportunities to be something amazing …… you just have to make sure you take those opportunities !”

Huge thanks for your time and all the best for your futures in life and in hockey Phoebe, Luke, Levi, Billy and Lewis. Thanks also to Toby Clark for volunteering you all and to the wonderful coaches, supporting staff and parents who all make the personal sacrifices needed to make our development system work so well !