Fourteen year old Sean Coleman is one of many future star players that will wear the green jersey on the international stage in the coming years, if given the chance. Sean got addicted to the sport of ice hockey just over three years ago following the opening of the Dundalk Ice Dome, which luckily for him was within walking distance from his home.
Sean was always to be seen at the rink, where many other young players known as ‘rink rats’ were associated with the Dundalk rink, always standing rink-side or skating on the ice pad itself. Sean and many of the other players’ love and passion for ice hockey is still alive and these once size four skaters now hold the key to the future of Irish Ice Hockey success – now all they need is a rink.
Sean’s love for the game is evident and after applying to the IIHA to attend the 2011 IIHF Hockey Development Players Camp in Vierumaki, Finland this week, his application was successful.
Speaking to IIHA Editor Martin Grant this week for www.iiha.org, Sean tells us about his love of hockey, who he admires in the sport and what his ambitions are for the future.
‘I was introduced to ice hockey by a friend’ said Sean, ‘I went to the World Championships when it was hosted in Dundalk and then went skating with a friend. I loved it and decided to try ice hockey and I’ve never looked back since’.
Asked what he loves most about the sport, he said ‘Meeting new people, playing with a team and of course scoring the goals’.
Coleman’s favourite moment that he can recall from the Dundalk Ice Dome was when he was picked to play against the Boston Bruins Alumni team when they came to Dundalk. The speedy forward slotted home a goal against the Bruin’ net, something that he was understandably chuffed about, shooting home against a former NHLer doesn’t happen to an Irishman everyday.
Since the closure of the Dundalk Ice Dome, which Sean would like to see being reopened, he has been travelling to Belfast twice and three times a week for ice hockey training and skating as he continues to focus on his love for gaelic, soccer and basketball.
Sean also recently travelled to Scotland for the Dundee Stars Spring Classic Tournament where he was part of an Irish select team and he has fond memories of the trip.
‘The tournament was a fantastic experience and one I am very grateful to Coach Kenny Redmond for’ said Sean, ‘It was great to play as part of the Irish team, considering I am so young. My favourite moment was being chosen to take the first penalty shot and scoring it. It was an electric experience’.
Asked who his all time sporting ice hockey hero was, Sean had a very mature answer. ‘I don’t have one hero, but a few. Sean Dooley and Kenny Redmond for inspiring and coaching me and having the belief in my ability, especially most recently at the trip in Scotland. Most importantly the one who made it all happen, Tony Kinsella for opening the Dundalk Ice Dome and giving me great guidance as I began my ice hockey journey and last but not least, Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals for being the best player I’ve ever seen’.
Sean’s ambition for his ice hockey future is quite simple – play at the highest level of hockey when he’s older and represent his country.
‘I’m looking forward to meeting new people and learning new skills to help develop me as player and Irish Ice Hockey as a whole at the camp in Finland’ said Sean before leaving.
The IIHA wishes Sean and the other participants at the IIHF Camp this week all the best.