A week before the EPL Play-Offs started in Coventry this year, match night announcer and sledge coach Peter Hagan, along with sledge player Steve Bradley, started a 100-mile long walk from the Altrincham Ice Dome to the Coventry Sky Dome.
The walk started on Monday 1st April at 9am outside the home of the Manchester Phoenix, they then walked 22.5miles on their first day. The aim was to finish in Coventry on the Friday, which they did. The pair finished at around 4pm outside The Windmill Pub, the Phoenix fans home away from home. They were greeted by around 50 of the Phoenix faithful singing and cheering.
The 100-mile walk to Coventry was Steve Bradley's idea, "It was a drunken bet at last year's play-offs," Steve commented. "It seemed like a good idea at the time. I was sat in The Windmill talking to some of the fans and I said, 'I'll walk here next year, and what's more I'll do it in full kit including body armour!'."
The main aim of the walk was to raise as much money as possible for charity, and also raise the chosen charities profiles.
The charities that were chosen were the Manchester Phoenix Community Sports Foundation and Stick 'n' Step.
The Manchester Phoenix Community Sports Foundation aims to help kids in the Greater Manchester area, and to some extent beyond, by introducing them to sport, through various initiatives. Pete Hagan said of the Foundation:
"Currently we are focused on our sledge hockey and women's teams, as well as the Sportivate sessions for 14-25 year olds.
Sportivate allows us to provide 6 week courses Free to a specific age group that often turns it back on sport by the lure of other things, some of them not to healthy or socially acceptable. We hope to engage them back into some form of sport, be it ice skating, ice hockey or sledge hockey.
Our sledge and women's teams allow us to focus on more organized sport, but still offer an opportunity to people to get involved but in a more competitive environment."
The Foundation aims to re-start the school road shows programme next season. This will allow the Foundation team to visit younger children and educate them on healthy living, using ice hockey as a vehicle to do this. The Foundation hopes to offer not just a classroom based talk, but allow children to meet players and staff, run some coaching sessions and then invite them to come and see the Phoenix play, offering them something a little different to other sports in the are
While Stick 'n' Step is a charity for children with cerebral palsy. Stick 'n' Step provides free specialist therapy for 70 children with cerebral palsy who live across the North West of England. At Stick 'n' Step, through the learning process of conductive education, children learn to expand the boundaries of their disability and live a more fulfilling and independent life. The charity needs £300,000 annually to keep its doors open. It receives no money from the NHS or government contracts and relies entirely on donations from individuals and groups and charitable trusts.
To date the walk undertaken by Pete and Steve has raised £425.02 on their online donation page (http://www.everyclick.com/charitywalk) and around £250 in donations given to them on the walk itself, giving a grand total of roughly £675.
The overall experience of the walk was agreed by both that it was "a lot of fun" but both suffered while undertaking the task.
"It didn't hurt my feet as much as I expected. But the pounding on the road did cause problems with my knees and back though. The pads caused the worst issues as they really started to rub after a while." Steve remarked.
While Pete was knocked out of day two and three of the walk due to picking up a knee and groin injury:
"That wasn't very pleasant as you can imagine, I could hardly move for a day. But the actual walk was good fun, some of the friendliness we were shown was great and having a laugh and a giggle with Steve was fun as well. Time went by quite fast, so I'd do it again, I'd just be more prepared than I was!"
As the duo came closer and closer to the end of the 100-miles they came up with a saying to keep them going, "Picture the pint!" When they finally arrived at The Windmill, they were serenaded with The Procalimers song, 'I Would Walk 500-Miles' by the Phoenix fans already there and waiting for them.
"The response from the Phoenix fans in the windmill was amazing. But to be honest I would expect nothing less from some of the best fans in British ice hockey." Steve stated.
While Pete Hagan closed by saying:
"Although I couldn't do the whole trip due to injury, there was still a sense of accomplishment at the end as well as relief too. Just hoping the grand total will reflect that sense of achievement."
Pete and Steve are still looking for donations for the walk which will then be spilt between two great charities, the MPCSF and Stick 'n' Step. If you wish to donate you have until the 15th April to donate online.
Manchester Phoenix Sledge Hockey & Women's Hockey coach, Peter Hagan, has been selected to become part of GreaterSport's Performance Coach Mentor Programme.
"I'm shocked if honest, I didn't think I would make the final 10 that would be selected as I didn't think I had the experience and qualifications they wanted. However, after talking to Jane Owen at GreaterSport , she persuaded me to apply." Said a very happy Pete, "I'm hoping to use it to improve not only the Sledge Hockey and Women's teams we run, but also my own coaching and experience....and who knows, maybe get the game out there a little more"
So what exactly has he been selected to? Below is an overview of the programme:
"GreaterSport in partnership with Sports Coach UK have developed a 12 month Performance Coach Mentor programme, to support high level active coaches in Greater Manchester. The programme will be open to 8-10 coaches from all sports, who work with elite level athletes and would like to continuously develop themselves to their highest potential, in order to support their athletes to the highest possible standard.
The programme will be facilitated by Paul Connolly, to mentor coaches to the next step within their careers. Paul will encourage a community of learning within the group by sharing the knowledge and experiences of other high level coaches on the programme, as well as high level coaches in the UK who will be invited to contribute to the programme as guest speakers. This includes Mike Watkinson, director of Lancashire CCC and former head coach, England Bowling.
It will challenge how you coach, provoke new ideas, instigate discussions, identify goals, question theories, provide feedback and set challenges between sessions in order to support you to raise and develop your coaching style." (GreaterSport, 2013)
"I'm hoping that I can learn from other sports some of the techniques and ideas they utilise, and that people can hopefully learn things from sledge and ice hockey that they can use too. It should be a fun programme to be part of....I'm nervous but excited to start."
We wish Peter the best of luck in what looks like an interesting and challenging initiative and no doubt the Foundation and its programmes will benefit from this great opportunity.
GreaterSport (2013) Performance Coach Mentor Programme [Online] Available from http://greatersport.co.uk [27 March 2013]
EPL Ice Hockey Raise Money For Marie Curie
Phoenix star James Archer has asked if we can help him get as many people as possible to support his cause!
It's a charity Ice Hockey game taking place on Sunday 12th May at 4pm at SimplySkate Rotherham and they are raising funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
The event is in memory of Tony Mettam.
If you can spare some money and would like to support the teams, then please come down and show your support!
Click the poster for a closer look at the details.