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Willingham youngster Jack Peachey-Matthews selected to represent England Ice Hockey in Canada





He may have only taken up ice hockey four years ago – and been playing in his current position of netminder for just 18 months – but Jack Peachey-Matthews is getting ready to represent England at an international tournament.

The 12-year-old was inspired to start playing the sport after going ice skating with his mum Amy, herself a former figure skater.

He spent six months with the Peterborough Phantoms before switching to Chelmsford Ice Hockey Academy – and from that moment onwards he has not looked back.

Willingham ice hockey player Jack Peachey-Matthews has been called up by England
Willingham ice hockey player Jack Peachey-Matthews has been called up by England

The Willingham-based youngster then decided to try his hand at being his team’s last line of defence in 2020 and he has proven to be a natural, so much so that he recently came through a series of trials to be selected to play for his country at under-13 level in Quebec, Canada, in February.

And if Peachey-Matthews gets his way, this will be just the start of a long association.

His dream is to earn a scholarship in one of the top-playing nations, or if that does not come to fruition, find a college or university in England with a prominent club nearby.

Willingham ice hockey player Jack Peachey-Matthews has been called up by England
Willingham ice hockey player Jack Peachey-Matthews has been called up by England

“That’s his dream, to get a scholarship in somewhere like Canada, USA or Switzerland where they take the sport seriously and to play alongside his studies,” said mum Amy.

“He’s really serious about it. He knows a few players that have done that sort of thing and I think it’s inspiring him.

“And if that doesn’t happen there are plenty of big clubs here in places like Nottingham and Sheffield which could be an option.”

Peachey-Matthews is actually a shining example of the good that sport can do.

Willingham ice hockey player Jack Peachey-Matthews has been called up by England
Willingham ice hockey player Jack Peachey-Matthews has been called up by England

As a sufferer of dyslexia, he had an extremely difficult time during his early school years.

He would often make up excuses not to go and when he did attend, academically things were challenging.

However, these days Peachey-Matthews is often the first person up each morning in his household, determined and excited in equal measure to be going out to learn.

Part of the new-found enthusiasm is down to the high level of support and understanding shown by Northstowe Secondary College, but another major factor in the Year 8 pupil’s brighter outlook towards his studies is ice hockey.

“He’s done phenomenally well considering he’s not been playing the sport for long,” added Amy.

“I’m so proud of him – more so for how hard he is having to work and the commitment he is showing rather than the skill and talent he has for the sport.

“We’ve always said to him that school work has to come first before anything else. He has to get his work done before he can think about training, matches and things like that.

“He used to struggle so much at school. He had a rough time and would pretend he was poorly, anything not to go.

“The school has been amazing, but the sport has done so much for him as well. He’s now up early every morning and ready to go to school, wanting to learn.

“At times he doesn’t get in until late because of training but he has that work ethic for both his hockey and school work, he’s determined to get it done.

“The two things definitely go hand in hand and to see him now get called up by England is amazing, I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

As for Peachey-Matthews himself, he is very excited about next year’s trip to Canada.

He will be travelling without his parents but having cut short a family holiday to Turkey in the summer to ensure he could attend England trials, what would seem such a big step to many children the same age is unlikely to cause any major anxiety.

He said: “It’s really, really exciting. It has taken a lot of practice for me to get good.

“I’m very proud of myself and hopefully we can go there, get some good results and win.”

Yet as Peachey-Matthews continues to progress within the sport, so do the costs.

Unlike a lot of mainstream sports, those that play ice hockey at junior level are largely self-funded or rely on sponsorship.

Amy explained: “It’s not like football and other sports that get lots of funding, you have to pay for everything yourself.

“The kit – especially for the position Jack plays in – is so expensive.

“Some of the players in the England squad have sponsors and it would be amazing if someone wanted to support Jack. He – and us as a family – would hugely appreciate it.”

Anyone interested in sponsoring Jack can contact Amy on 07539 321358 or by emailing acpeachey84@hotmail.com for more information.



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