AN AMBITIOUS ice hockey prodigy is over the moon after being selected for this season’s England under-13s team.
The selection caps off a busy 12 months for Josh Kelly, 12, who helped Britain’s roller hockey team to a gold medal last July at the AAU Junior Olympics in California.
The Rugby Free Secondary School student was also chosen to play ice hockey for the South West Region last May, and has also been selected to play for the Midlands region this year.
Josh, who plays and trains for Nottingham Ice Hockey Club, passed a gruelling selection process for the England team.
Josh attended a three-day selection camp in Deeside last July, followed by further trials in Sheffield in October, December and on Valentine’s Day.
Participants were put through their paces with off-ice fitness testing, attended lectures on nutrition and motivation, were tested on their ice skating skills and drills, and played matches.
Josh said words could not describe how he felt when he learned he had been selected.
He said: “I was so happy – it’s an amazing feeling to know my hard word has paid off.
“The selection process was physically and mentally demanding. You had to be alert at all times and push through the fatigue.
“I loved the drills on the ice and the games at the end of each day were intense, but fun.
“We had talks about what it means to be an England player, and learned about player conduct and discipline.
“I’ve been working towards this goal for a year, and I have trained hard and given my everything. I want to become a professional hockey player in the future.”
Josh’s proud mum Doné Kelly said: “He is the one that puts in the effort and we are just the equipment managers and the taxi service. We can’t do the work for him – but he is so motivated to achieve his goals.
“Ice hockey isn’t always during sociable hours as the kids are often on the ice between 11pm and 1am – but Josh loves it and never complains.”