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Billingham Stars ice hockey player follows in former Durham Wasp father's footsteps
A St Leonard’s Catholic Schoolboy who hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps with a career in ice hockey has been selected to play in the world’s biggest tournament for his age group.
Ethan Hehir will represent England in the renowned International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament in Canada - widely regarded as the sport’s birthplace - next February.
The 12-year-old from Spennymoor, County Durham, is the only player from the region to make the 18-strong England Under 13s squad.
He said: “I was really happy to be selected, I’d tried the year before but missed out at the last stage so to make the team this year is amazing.
“I like to get on the ice as much as I can and cannot wait to play out there.”
Ice hockey has been in Ethan’s blood since he was a baby as his father Simon Hehir was a defenceman for Durham Wasps and his mother, Stephanie Iveson, played for Billingham Wildcats.
He started playing when he was five-years-old and has played for Billingham Bombers Under 10s, spent a season with Whitley Bay Warriers then Newcastle Vipers while Billingham Forum was being refurbished, and now plays for Billingham Stars Under 14 and Under 16s.
To make the national squad Ethan impressed selectors at a series of trials before being spotted by England coaches who ran a three-day camp to whittle down 48 promising youngsters to a final 18.
They will be among 2,300 junior hockey players from 16 countries who hit the ice for the 55th prestigious ‘world championships of pee-wee hockey’ in Quebec, where global stars like Wayne Gretzky scored major attention as youngsters.
Ethan, a pupil at St Leonard’s Catholic School, in Durham, said: “I’d like to get a scholarship to America and play ice hockey as a career one day.
“Canada will be really exciting. It is a great opportunity to make a good impression and get noticed, to play on such a big stage and gain confidence and to learn, with every new experience I have to raise my game and get a bit better.”
Ethan and his family now need to raise about £2,000 to fund the trip and more money to buy official England kit and attend training camps ahead of the tournament. Any potential sponsors can contact Ethan’s grandmother, at email@example.com or on 07931-530074.
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