WITH one game still to play, Sutton Sting U12s have secured the club’s second league title of the 2010/11 ice hockey season, courtesy of a win for the club’s second U12 team, Ashfield Sting.
It was less than a month ago that Sting U10s won their league
U12s Sutton coach Gary Apsley said: “I just don’t know how we do it!
“We have such a great set-up at Sutton Sting so I guess it should be no surprise, but I am over the moon.”
U12 Sutton is the club’s first team and U12 Ashfield is the development team, but it was the U12 Ashfield result against second in the league Manchester Phoenix at Lammas last week which caught everyone by surprise.
Two weeks ago Manchester beat Ashfield at Altrincham and that result was no surprise.
But the return was a different story.
Ashfield were not going to lie down and took the game to the Phoenix from the first drop of the puck and soon got their noses in front where they stayed until the end of the game, running out 4–2 winners.
That secured their counterparts, U12 Sutton, their second league title in three years.
Sting chairman Ian Johnson said: “Our U12 coaches, Gary, Jamie and Martin, have worked really hard all season.
“They have prepared the kids both mentally and physically as well as teaching them the basic skills of skating, passing and shooting which has proved to be a very successful formula.
“Sutton Sting is no longer a club full of ‘wannabes’, we are now a club full of winners and champions, and I like that because it makes all of the effort worthwhile.”
Sting head coach Rob Saunders added: “Sting winning the league at U10 and U12 in the same season - we must be doing something right!
“It seems like just last week our teams were getting beat 49–0 and now we are showing just how far we have come.
“Winning league championships is the stuff of dreams and our kids are living their dreams, it is fantastic!”
U12 Sutton have one game left to play, having won all of their previous 11 games of the season.
Ironically the final game is away at Manchester Phoenix who, until meeting U12 Ashfield, were themselves lining-up for the championship decider against U12 Sutton on 17th April.
Now, though, that game will be a formality as U12 Sutton cannot be beaten and will be crowned EIHA Division Two North League Champions when they visit Altrincham on Sunday, 17th April.
U12 Sutton team manager Carl Neenan is enjoying his first season in charge of the Sutton team and said: “We came to Sutton last summer and I soon realised what a great club we had joined. The training is hard and uncompromising but everyone has a great time as they learn about ice hockey.
“Now all that hard work has paid off and I am delighted that my family has been part of something very special. I am really looking forward to the trip to Manchester next month, I hope they put plenty of polish on our trophy!”