Media playback is not supported on this device
Plymouth Pirates could be the next big thing in British ice hockey – if they can find somewhere to play.The group of enthusiasts for the sport do a monthly 350-mile round trip to Gosport in Hampshire to train.Ice hockey has been played in Plymouth for many years, but the city’s kidney-shaped ice rink does not lend itself to competitive ice hockey.
But that has not stopped the club from adding players and aiming to play in a league one day.”The problem you’ve got is that one side is narrow and the other is really wide,” manager Steve Coomber said.”On one side you’re very bottle-necked and you can’t get out of it and run the drills needed. “The ice isn’t big enough to play a proper five-on-five with goalies in at either end, so you’re restricted to four-on-four or three-on-three when the guys are a lot faster.”‘It’s a bit of a slog’Coomber has been an enthusiast for the sport for many years – leaving his native Plymouth to go to Cardiff in order to play at a competitive level.It was when he returned to Devon and realised that ice hockey had still not progressed in the area that he felt he had to act.”We meet up around six in the morning as a group and share rides up,” said Peter Hooper, who started the team with Coomber.”It’s a good three-and-a-half hour trip, it’s a bit of a slog and some of us are used to it, others aren’t.”But it’s one of those things – you get hooked and you’ll travel to play.”Plans are afoot to build a new ice rink on land next to Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park football ground which would be the right size for the team to play on. But the club cannot wait that long – the plans are yet to be approved – so they plan to register with the English Ice Hockey Association and start playing ‘home’ games in Gosport.”The dream is to make Plymouth into a hockey town,” said goalkeeper Damian Suparasiri.”We do have a thriving scene, it’s just a lack of facilities. With a new rink it would open up new doors, we could even have a professional team. “The dream for the Pirates is to play in our home town in front of our home crowd and show them what we’ve got.”
Source: Devon BBC