Ashton Jenion, 22, (above, centre) came through a series of rigorous trials, physical tests and mental examinations to be included in Team Great Britain's 20-man Ice Hockey team for The FISU World Winter University Games in Trentino, Italy, next month.
Playing as a Defenceman for the Coventry NIHL Blaze in the NIHL Laidler Conference, Ashton has extensive experience of high intensity hockey – but he was surprised by how hard the trials were.
He said: “The trials were really tough. I had to go through five sessions over numerous weekends in Nottingham. It was fairly high pressure because they wanted to see the level of your ability, how you command the ice. This was on top of training twice a week for Coventry Blaze in Coventry and studying for my Construction Project Management degree at Aston.
When I found out I’d been selected I was extremely happy, proud and excited to go. It’s a massive event and will be a great challenge
“When I found out I’d been selected I was extremely happy, proud and excited to go. It’s a massive event and will be a great challenge. I’m friends with quite a few of the team already, having played against them with Coventry. We’ve got a good squad and we are going to work as hard as we can.”
At Aston University, Ashton is involved in various sporting societies and is a University Sports Scholar, receiving a grant from Sports Aston to support him in snowboarding and ice hockey events. The grant can be used for equipment and travel costs and for training aims and dietary supplements.
On behalf of the University, Ashton has competed at numerous sporting events across Europe, including the finals of a snowboarding tournament in the French Alps. He is also captain of the Aston’s Snowsport Squad, which currently teaches around 45 people to ski and snowboard each week at the indoor Snowdown complex in Tamworth.
Ashton said: “I’m really grateful for the University helping me out, as well as DSM Demolition who sponsor me to play for Coventry and a lady called Philippa Lynch. Their support has helped me compete in European tournaments, like the Winter Universiade. It’s going to be great and I know my parents are planning to come out to cheer me on – they’re not going to miss out on this.”
“Back at home, my mates in the Snowsport Squad have organised viewings of our matches in the student union’s B4 Bar. Hopefully, we can give them something to cheer.”
The Winter Universiade is the biggest global multi-sports event for student athletes and is staged every two years in a different city.
Team GB’s Hockey squad have been drawn in the same group as Russia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Their matches will be televised on Eurosport from 11 December.
For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or firstname.lastname@example.org