Ten years on club looks to raise profile
INLINE hockey may not be one of the more commonly known sports in Cornwall, but the Kernow Wizards are continuing to attract new players from across the county.
Formed ten years ago, the Wizards are the only inline hockey team in the county, with players travelling from far and wide, including Penzance, Truro, Bodmin and Plymouth to play.
Coached by Richard Cherrie, a former ice hockey player, who came through the youth ranks at Coventry Blaze, the Wizards train on Wednesday evenings in Wadebridge (7-9pm), though competitive games are played at Paignton Leisure Centre.
Cherrie said: "When I arrived we didn't have enough for a first-team.
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"The way things are going we could even put out two teams next season. There are 15 or 16 in the squad now, and we are always looking for new players."
The club is also hoping to secure sponsorship, with a couple of presentations to local rotary clubs scheduled to take place.
The new season is not due to start until January, after being put back from this month, though the club is continuing to train.
One of their newest recruits is goaltender Stuart Punter, who was only introduced to the sport two months ago by brother Jack, who plays for the Wizards.
And already Punter, who lives in Bodmin, is hooked. He said: "They needed a goalkeeper, so my brother asked me along and I loved it.
"I've only been playing for a couple of months, Jack has been playing from the very start, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. We have another goaltender too, so a bit of competition is always nice."
The club was originally formed ten years ago as the 'Wadebridge Camels', but following increased interest from across the county the club felt the 'Kernow Wizards' was more appropriate.
And ahead of the new campaign, which begins on Sunday, January 13, the Wizards are keen to raise awareness of the sport. Punter added: "We are always looking for new players, and we are hoping to start a second team.
"Inline hockey is not one of your better known sports, but hopefully we can continue to raise its profile in the county.
"Our dedicated team train hard and come from all over the county to play this fast paced, skilful game. It is important that we encourage new talent to expand and keep the Wizards playing.
"The team would like to raise their profile throughout the county and gain some sponsors."
The Kernow Wizards are members of the British Inline Puck Hockey Association, which is the UK's recognised governing body of inline puck hockey.
In the south west section, rival teams include Exeter Storm and Paignton Dragons.
Last season the Wizards qualified for the National Finals, after finishing second in their group.