Local ice hockey players do their bit

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FIVE local ice hockey players have gone the extra mile for Sport Relief.

Beni McAllister, Justin Moore, Chris Darragh, Lisa Hanna and Trevor Martin, who all play for the Northern Ireland Tridents, completed 90 laps of their home rink at Dundonald Ice Bowl on Saturday, which equates to six miles.

The Tridents, who were formed only 18 months ago, play in a local recreational league and incorporate members of the three main emergency services in Northern Ireland, The Police Service of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

During that same year colleagues from across the border in An Garda Siochana also joined the team giving the Northern Ireland Tridents a unique position as the first ever all-Ireland joint emergency services sporting team.

Assistant coach McAllister has over 20 years experience in the sport which started back in Coleraine.

“I have been involved with Ice Hockey and coaching now for nearly 20-years,” Beni told Times Sport.

“It all started when Coleraine Jet Centre had an Ice Rink, and we had the Coleraine Jets Ice Hockey team, and some Junior Development teams.

“With it’s closure 10 years ago, it has meant a lot of travelling to play hockey with Belfast being an hour and 15 minutes from home. Although, this is better than when we used the Dundalk Ice Dome, which was a 250 mile round trip, sometimes three times a week!

“But Ice Hockey is an addiction and you will travel wherever it takes you!”

Following their Sport Relief challenge the Tridents are gearing up for an even bigger test next year as Belfast hosts the World Police and Fire Games.

This is the third biggest event in the world with over 10,000 competitors taking part. Their will 12 days of Ice Hockey with a total of 63 teams taking part and McAllister can’t wait for it to start.

“I’m very proud to be involved with this team and it’s preparation for the World Police and Fire Games,” he said.

“The Tridents will represent the whole country in the event, so I suppose you could say it is as close to a ‘National’ squad as the joint services are ever going to field in this country.

“The mood in the camp is electric, it’s not often you get an opportunity to prepare and play in such a prestigious event in a small country like Northern Ireland.

“So everyone from coaching staff to the players is looking forward to making history in local NI Hockey, and leaving behind a real legacy for the sport for years to come!

“I think the fans can look forward to a lot of good hockey games, with the standard being at the top level with some of the teams coming from Canada and America – those will be awesome.

“It’s going to be an amazing event for Northern Ireland, and local Ice Hockey fans will be blown away by this event.”

If you would like to sponsor the Tridents log on to http://my.sportrelief.com/sponsor/nitridentsteam