Ice-hockey starlet picked for Great Britain

THE ICEMAN COMETH -- Brandon Stones in his netminding kit

THE ICEMAN COMETH -- Brandon Stones in his netminding kit

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AN ICE-hockey starlet from Hucknall certainly won’t be getting any stick — after he was picked to play for Great Britain at the under-18s’ world championships!

Brandon Stones (17), of Beacon Hill Drive, will be part of the side competing in Latvia in April against some of the best young players on the planet.

His selection is the latest honour for goaltender Brandon in a fledgling career that has already seen him represent the East Midlands and England at junior level.

He has also hit the ice for professional outfits the Sheffield Steelers and the Edinburgh Capitals in the Elite League — the same competition in which the Nottingham Panthers play.

Brandon’s mum, Diane Ridley, said: “We are very, very proud of him. It has taken a lot of dedication and effort to get to this stage and he deserves this.

“He does not blow his own trumpet. He is very down to earth. But he was very excited when he got the letter confirming the Great Britain call-up.”

Brandon first took to ice-skates at the age of three and has been playing ice-hockey since he was four-and-a-half. He was inspired by his dad, Roger Stones, who is a coach.

Brandon played his first match just a day after his fifth birthday when he turned out for Nottingham Pumas as a defenceman in an under-10s game.

It wasn’t until he was seven that he played in goal — after a teammate fell ill and his side faced forfeiting the game if he didn’t take on the role.

The switch has paid off tremendously, and Brandon is now contracted to the Steelers, for whom he played against Hull last November and won the man-of-the-match award. Last weekend, he was loaned by the Steelers to the Capitals and played against his contracted club and also Hull in a double-header.

Diane says Roger deserves much of the credit for her son’s success. Anyone interested in sponsoring Brandon should get in touch with Roger on 07855 455094.