The Kilkenny City Storm Ice/Inline Hockey Club was formed in 2006 and teams from the club have played in both the IIHA and the IHI (Inline Hockey Ireland) leagues. The club has grown from strength to strength ever since.
In the late months of 2008, the Storm Club and its officials decided to start its junior hockey program after seeking and receiving advice from the IIHA. Having organised fundraising events and scraping together some gear, the club were on their way to success. The club ventured out to the unknown streets of Kilkenny where most people were oblivious to either ice or inline hockey to recruit new members and after some advertising, the club were able to sign up a small group of kids and the junior Storm hockey program was created.
The kids were coached by the Storm’s Head Coach, Paul Cummins, who was helped by Assistant Coach Jamie Cummins, household names in both ice and inline hockey circles! A few months into the junior program, with the work the Storm where doing in Kilkenny evident, the IIHA offered to send Paul to Finland to take part in the 2009 IIHF Hockey Development Camp in Vierumaki as a Learn to Play (LTP) coach. This proved to be a huge benefit to the club. Paul says ‘It was a trip of a life time for me. The biggest lesson I learned about coaching hockey to kids is to make it fun through playing games, pre-planning sessions and the utilizing of ice time and ice management or court time in the case of inline’.
Over the following months the interest in the Storm’s junior program grew and the coaches arranged regular day trips to both the Charlestown and Dundalk Ice Rinks to take part in the IIHA’s LTP programmes. These provided the Storm’s junior players a chance to play ice hockey for the first time. Learning new skills, training with other junior players and being coached by different coaches all helped keeping the players interested in the sport. However, shortly after both ice rinks closed and not having other teams to play against, the club’s coaches struggled to keep the juniors motivated and turning up to training every week. The Club struggled to keep numbers, but they kept on going.
Good news was on the horizon though. Four local Kilkenny business men decided to take a chance on running a Christmas ice rink in the heart of Kilkenny City and contacted the Kilkenny City Storm for both advice and staff. After lengthy talks with the club, the rink was erected and four Storm members volunteered their free time to work at the rink for nearly twelve weeks with no pay, in exchange for ice time, so that both the junior and senior Storm members could train and play ice hockey. The Club’s banners were placed around the rink in a bid to promote the club and exhibition games for the public to watch were arranged to display the coolest game on earth to the Kilkenny people. Between skating sessions the Storm’s ice marshals would play hockey while the waiting public watched in awe, thinking of films like ‘The Mighty Ducks’ and ‘Mystery Alaska’. The unforgettable twelve weeks flew by and the festive rink closed its doors. The Kilkenny club returned to its junior inline program again, but what happened next was totally unexpected.
When the junior program returned, this time the club couldn’t cope with the influx of kids wanting to try inline hockey, after seeing it being played at the Christmas ice rink. The only problem was that there simply wasn’t enough equipment to cater for all these new players! So the Storm’s club committee contacted the IIHA Executive Committee for more help, explaining that they had 10-12 juniors training with sometimes up to an extra 15 kids watching on because the club hadn’t the safety equipment to allow them to join in. The IIHA’s response was immediate, stating that they had already known about the Kilkenny City Storm’s junior program’s progress as Head Coach Paul Cummins was keeping them informed since returning from Finland and that they would do all they could to help the club cope with the new wave of interested kids wanting to play. A few short weeks past and enough equipment arrived from the IIHA that would allow any kid who turned up to the hockey training sessions to join in. Since then the club’s coaches and committee have worked around the clock to keep the Kilkenny Junior Hockey Program running and as interesting as possible for the kids. To do this, the Club have arranged day trips to Cork to train with and play against the Cork Junior Team as well as arranging return trips.
The Kilkenny City Storm Junior Hockey Program runs two separate inline sessions every Sunday morning from 10am-11am for beginners and U10s (with the youngest being just 5 years old) and then from 11am-12pm for over 10s (with the oldest being 15 years old). The Senior Team then train from 12pm-2pm. The club also holds one of Irelands top two day inline hockey tournament weekends, which now sees a huge number of ice hockey players turning up to play inline for their hockey buzz, which is great to see.
Anyone who is looking to train or play with the Storm or have friendly games with either of the A or B league teams or any junior players/teams that want to play, the Storm are willing to both travel to games or host them. The Kilkenny City Storm can be contacted via email using firstname.lastname@example.org or Paul Cummins can be contacted by phone on 086-662-9873. You can also see pictures and video clips of both the Junior and Senior teams training sessions and games on our Facebook page as well as regular updates.
‘The Kilkenny City Storm Ice/Inline Hockey club would like to thank the IIHA for all their time, help and advice over the past few years’ said Paul Cummins in an interview with www.iiha.org this week, ‘This has played a huge part in helping the Storm to expand and secure its future by helping with the Club’s junior program. We would also like to acknowledge the hard work put in by Club Chairman Mick Cummins and senior team captain Harry Maharaj, both on and off the court/ice, as a lot of the work that is done to keep clubs going is never seen. Without such dedication by people like these the sport of ice and inline hockey would just fade away’.
We would strongly urge anyone who is hoping to start up a new or any existing ice/inline hockey club who needs help in anyway, especially with juniors, to contact the IIHA via email@example.com for help and advice.