Harry lands place in GB world squad

A YOUNG ice skater is relishing the prospect of playing on the international stage against skaters up to two years older than himself.

Harry Harley is already beginning to make a name for himself among the ranks at Whitley Warriors after making progress into the first team this season following performances for the Whitley Braves.

And the 16-year-old has been rewarded for his efforts on and off the ice by being named in the Great Britain Under-18 squad for the World Championships, which start Friday in Heerenveen, the Netherlands.

Harley, picured, will be one of the youngest players in the squad, which will play against Croatia, Korea, Lithuania, Netherlands and Romania between March 30 and April 6.

The young forward said: “I’m really pleased that I’ve been given the opportunity to play for Great Britain and I’m looking forward to going to the World Championships.

“Our aim is to win the gold medal and promotion to Division 1B.”

Harley, who will be in the same GB squad as Liam Stewart, the son of rock star Rod Stewart, has been playing ice hockey since he was seven-years-old.

And the former Whitley Bay High School pupil – who has also played at U14, U15 and U16 for GB – is concentrating on a potential ice hockey career, and is already impressing coaches at the Warriors.

Warriors coach Garry Dowd has no doubts that Harley will hold his own on the international stage.

“Harry is a talent that has everything an ice hockey player could wish for,” said Dowd.

“He reads the game well and has a presence on the ice that belies his age.

“We gave him and Christian Johnson an opportunity this season and they have both grabbed it with both hands, but as much as we are delighted that Harry has made it, no one at the club can understand why Christian is not in the squad with him; but they are both established first team players at Whitley now and can have a big say in the future success of the club.”