Three generations of family on Whitley ice

Paul Matthews, his dad Terry and daughter Amber.
Paul Matthews, his dad Terry and daughter Amber.

Three generations of the same family are currently skating at Whitley.

Veteran defenceman Paul Matthews came out of retirement to ice once again for the Whitley Warriors in NIHL North during the 2013/14 campaign.

Despite the fact that Paul was 40 and hadn’t played competitive hockey for 10 years when he returned, he has more than held his own and he was made one of the club’s alternate captains for the current season after a number of impressive displays for Warriors.

Paul is not the only member of his family to be involved with ice sports at Whitley Bay’s Hillheads ice rink though, as his dad Terry, 74, is head coach of the Junior Development ice hockey programme at the rink while Paul’s nine-year-old daughter Amber is a WBISC figure skater who currently skates around three times a week.

Paul has played over 250 games in his career to date having played most of his hockey on Tyneside however he also played some club hockey in Scotland in the mid nineties. In recent years Paul has studied for his coaching badges and has coached at Whitley Bay Junior level and also run the bench for the Northern Conference under 17s team.

He said: “Having the three generations still involved with the ice rink after all these years is a rarity and something the family are all proud of, especially Amber.”

Terry has been involved in hockey for over 50 years. During his time in the sport Terry has played and coached Great Britain as well as having a distinguished career at club level for the Warriors.

Terry, like his son, has returned to the sport to take on the head coaching duties at Whitley Bay Junior Development with long-term friend Iain Finlayson.

GB Hall of Famer Terry said: “I heard the juniors at Whitley Bay needed some help and guidance so I decided to return with Iain, and so far with all the other coaches aim to develop the club for the foreseeable future and we would like to see more kids interested in this fantastic sport.”

Amber started in Whitley Bay’s Figure Skating Polar Club programme nearly two years ago and is progressing extremely well through her badges and competitions under her coach Karen Brannan. Amber’s aim is to one day skate in the Winter Olympics.

She said: “I was six when my Dad first took me skating, I really enjoyed it and to be able to skate with my Dad and Grandad on the ice is really good, I would skate everyday if I could.”

This coming Sunday sees Warriors taking on the Solway Sharks in St Andrews Cup action. Paul will hopefully be icing for Whitley though he has been out of action of late due to injury. One thing is for sure, if he is able to play both Terry and Amber will be giving him their full support.

For anyone who would like to see Warriors in action this weekend, tickets are priced at £8 for adults, £6 for children and a family ticket can be bought for two adults and two children for £23 for the cup tie that gets underway at the club’s normal 5pm face-off time.