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Ice hockey: Youngsters get their skates on for the Giants

By Stuart McKinley

The Belfast Giants have begun the search for the next Mark Morrison or Graeme Walton.

The two homegrown players are now in their fifth season with the team and earlier this year they both became internationals - Morrison with Ireland while Walton played for Great Britain after an outstanding campaign in the Elite League.

Now the Giants are turning their attentions to youth development and they are doing it with the help of supermarket giants Tesco. The Tesco Junior Giants have come about through an amalgamation of two other teams, the Belfast Community Ice Hockey Club and the Northern Ireland Ice Hockey Club.

Four teams are currently competing in the Scottish Ice Hockey League at under-14, under-16 and under-20 level as well as a senior side in the Scottish National League.

In addition to that Tesco are backing coaching programmes for under-10s and under-12s.

Junior Giants head coach Tommy McKinnon said: "We are over the moon to have such a high profile sponsor as Tesco supporting the Junior Giants.

"This year we have four competitive teams put together and we also have an exciting 'Learn to Play' programme which will help kids develop their ice hockey skills as well as their knowledge of the sport."

Giants general manager Todd Kelman said: "I am so happy that we are finally able to bring junior development together with the Belfast Giants and thank Tesco for making this a reality. We couldn't have done it without their generous support."

Anyone wishing to join can leave their contact details at the Dundonald Ice Bowl or alternatively club chairman John Bickerstaff on 07788 820179.

Belfast Telegraph

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