Just two weeks remain before seven members of the Nottingham Lions squad take to the ice in front of a 7000-strong capacity crowd for the annual Ice Hockey Varsity Challenge match at the Capital FM Arena.


Matt Bradbury (left) will be coaching the Trent team whilst his counterpart Simon Hopkins (right) will be directing from the Nottingham bench.

This years match-up between Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham will take place on Monday 18th February (7.30pm face off) and is organised by the Lions’ Assistant Coach and University of Nottingham employee Simon Hopkins; who will also be coaching the UoN side, whilst fellow Lions coach Matt Bradbury will be taking up a guest coaching role on the Trent team bench.

All the players on show normally ice together as members of the Nottingham Mavericks, a team which compromises of players from both universities, but once a year their roster is split into two teams which compete against each other in this one-off game, as part of a series of fifteen events including American Football, Rugby, Netball and Football. The University that gains the most wins from all the events is then crowned 2013 champions and takes home the coveted Varsity Trophy.

Representing for Trent this year will be right-winger and assistant captain; Gareth O’Flaherty alongside Ryan Rathbone, Jamie Hovell and Canadian forward Jose Leon. They will be taking on their Lions counterparts; Jack Baveystock, Christy Johnson-Brown and American import Luke Branin, who will all be icing for Nottingham along with ex-Lions; Richard Griffiths, Jack Clarkson and Paul Whitby.

Last year’s event raised thousands of pounds for the Cerebral Palsy Sport charity and saw Trent emerge victorious after a thrilling 7-5 victory with the Lions’ O’Flaherty grabbing the game-winning goal midway through the third period.


Lions winger Gareth O’Flaherty celebrates scoring Trent’s game-winning goal in last year’s clash.

This year’s game, which still remains the biggest varsity ice hockey match outside of North America, is in aid of Headway; a local charity branch which provides a diverse range of social, leisure and educational activities. Their outreach service offers practical support to families, supporting people to come to terms with the change in lifestyle following brain injury.

All tickets are £5 and can can be bought in advance by ringing 0843 373 3000 between 9am and 9pm Monday to Sunday or by visiting the National Ice Centre Box Office in person between 8am -9pm Monday to Sunday.

Nottingham Trent Students - Tickets are available from NTSU receptions at City and Clifton campuses.

University of Nottingham Students - Tickets are on sale at the UoN SU reception and available online.

Don’t forget there is also a pre-skating session with the players on the hallowed CapitalFM Arena pad before-hand. This takes place between 5:15-6:15pm and costs just £3 (including skate hire) with all proceeds going to the Nottingham Mavericks club..

The varsity clash is just the beginning of what is being dubbed ‘Ice Hockey Week’ in the city with the Nottingham Panthers hosting on local rivals Sheffield Steelers on Friday 22nd before the Lions take on Hull Stingrays at the NIC on Sunday 24th (7.15pm face off).

All Students! – Keep an eye on the Lions website or our Facebook and Twitter accounts over the next few days for some exciting news.

Monday, 04 February 2013.