Conference Weekend: The jewel in the crown of junior hockey

The showpiece event of the English Ice Hockey Association junior hockey calendar – the EIHA Junior Inter Conference Tournament – is just over a month away.

Now in its 22nd year, the tournament features 400 of the best junior players from across Britain playing in four age groups – U11, U13, U15 and U17 – in five Conference teams – Northern, Midlands, South East, South West and Scotland.

This year’s event is at iceSheffield from Friday, 29th April to Monday, 2nd May and starts with the U19 international between England and Scotland on the first night (8.00pm face-off, free admission).

Both sides have named strong teams for the match, which sees the winners presented with the Frank Dempster Bowl.

The tournament proper gets underway at 7.00am on Saturday, 30th April with the first of 44 games in three days – with the colour and pagentry of the opening ceremony on Saturday afternoon where all 400 players take to the ice, concluding on Monday evening with the closing and medal ceremony.

Tickets for Conference Weekend are available from iceSheffield reception on the day – a tournament pass is £20 adults/£10 children which covers all three days. A single day ticket is £10 adults/£5 children.

Tournament Director Geoff Hemmerman said: “We’re delighted to be coming back to iceSheffield and I look forward to seeing all players, coaches and supporters bringing colour and a vibrant atmosphere to the rink.

“Last year was our first here in Sheffield and we are confident that his year will be bigger and better on and off the ice.”

Junior Leagues Management Committee Chair Jacqueline Pye added: “Conference Weekend is the jewel in the crown for Junior Hockey in the EIHA and the JLMC are excited as always to be part of the event.

“This year we are also holding the Rob Laidler U18 plate over a weekend (23/24 April) in addition to the National Junior Finals (14/15 May), so it’s a busy time for JLMC but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Please follow @EIHAConference on Twitter for the latest news and scores from the tournament.

(Image permission: Jake Oakley)

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