When I first came to Blackburn and sat with Carl, Graham and Ollie, there was a vision for the Hawks organisation. What made it attractive to me was the talk of development which a lot of others talk about around the country, but never becomes reality because of the amount of work and communication that needs to go into it. I had a few guys make fun of me, as one of the first talks I had with some younger players was around not skipping levels. It’s all about the levels. This is my take on it, and what I believe from a coaching aspect, the thing that will help players get to the next level of their development.
Development can’t just come from us as clubs, but needs to come from the mindset of the players and they need to believe and buy into why they are doing, where they are, and what pathway we can offer each individual. They also need to understand that everyone’s pathway and level of development are different. Different players are on different levels. Too many times players think they can just rely on their skill set at their age group, but it is such a massive jump in the compete level from league to league, that they get left behind. The players that buy into the battle, put in the hard work, and up their compete level, will be the ones ultimately moving on and leaving the others behind. These are also the guys who will be around our organisation to challenge each other and help us become a more competitive organisation.
To be able to say we hold 7 different affiliations over the course of half a season is a true indication about what we will be able to achieve in the future. We have 15 players skating with one of our 7 affiliations on a weekly basis, whether up a level or down a level, all over the country. This is no easy task from a communication aspect of it, however communicating is the key. We also have players playing at all levels from time to time. Our average age is 21 which is one of the youngest in the country at our level and competing to finish mid table this season. The way I see it is we have already achieved the amount of points we did last season in fewer games and with an average age team of 6 years younger. This is a stat that I am extremely proud of from my point of view. I feel with a few games we deserved to win in which we have been unlucky as we would be more solidified tin the league standings and be above where we were. That’s improvement regardless!!
The goal was always to be able to build a young team, help with development but also look to compete within the league. Competing in the league is crucial and players alongside parents who are helping these younger guys, have to understand that and the ones we have bought into what we are doing. We thank all the players and parents for understanding this is not just about one person, but in a team environment guys with the same team goals, will help push and challenge each other and ultimately help them to the next level as well as making us a very competitive organisation.
Carl and Graham have created an extremely professional environment. These guys get treated better than any other organisation in the country at our level, which helps them with being more comfortable but challenged to become men and more responsible along side it. The older guys we have put around them are the right guys we want to help mould them and they are also doing a great job so thank you boys.
To conclude, I would like to say a huge thank you to all of our affiliations, the coaches alongside owners for helping us grow the sport here in Blackburn and help grow these young boys into men. Personally from a coaching level, I would like to thank Ollie Lomax, Steve Hirst, Darren Wilson (Hawks Academy), Elliot Bayne (Altrincham Aces), Andy Brown (Bradford Bulldogs), Matt Davies (Hull Seahawks), Greg Wood (Sheffield Steeldogs), Ryan Aldridge (Leeds Knights), Steve Wishart (Kirkaldy Kestrels), and Matt Ginn (Manchester Storm) for taking the time and helping me personally with our vision as an organisation.
Altrincham Aces Head Coach – Elliot Bayne commented:
‘We have started a really positive relationship between our organisations
with 4 players now playing on 2 ways. Its been great to see more players
take this step as the season has progressed with them all getting game
time for both teams. As we move from this season into next I feel really
positive about the pathway we have opened.’
Hawks Co-Owner, Carl Everitt had the following words on the progress so far ……..
It’s fair to say that creating the vision back in 2020 for our club was fairly easy, as doing the right thing by players, supporters, volunteers, sponsors along with other teams is a great place to start, and I feel we have made great in-roads in our journey so far, with lots more happy faces around our club, both on and off the ice.
The effort that has been put in by everyone, especially the coaching team, lead by Dom, has been immense and the relationships we have built with clubs allover the country (and even in other countries) is quite incredible and something I’m very proud to see.
I know that our amazing supporters can see the direction the club is going in, with youth development and opportunity being a huge part of our strategy along with the experience we already have at the club. We thank our fans from the bottom of our hearts for their support so far and thank you all in advance for the further support, I have no doubt, you will provide us moving forwards. We do what we do for your entertainment.
Let’s continue to all work together to keep pushing in the right direction and see if we can deliver our vision and mission together:
‘To be the ice hockey club of choice for quality coaching, opportunity and the realisation of potential, created by our people through passion, competence and through us all, delivering a matchnight experience deserving of recommendation.’