A young ice hockey player from Bingham turned his dream into reality just days after receiving his GSCE results.
Sixteen year-old Charlie Henry was a pupil at Toot Hill School – part of the Nova Education Trust – but is now playing as a netminder in the highest level of youth hockey in the USA.
Four days after receiving excellent GCSE results, Charlie flew out of Heathrow Airport alone en-route to America to play for West Coast Renegades Ice Hockey Club.
The Renegades are based in Utah and play AAA ice hockey in the NAPHL Tier 1 Division.
There are several AAA hockey teams throughout the States, so Charlie will be travelling and playing all over America. His home rink – where he trains four times a week – is the amazing Olympic Oval that was venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
“Toot Hill have always been thoroughly supportive of my desire to develop my sport, even when I’ve needed time out of school for national trials,” said Charlie. “Although I have been playing ice hockey for a few years, I still have a long way to go.
“I want to push myself and continue learning and developing both physically and mentally over the next few years. My end goal is to play ice hockey professionally and I don’t feel embarrassed about saying that.
“GB Men’s Goaltending Coach Euan King has been a great mentor and helped me with my decisions. I’m thrilled now to be working with a fantastic coaching team here at West Coast Renegades. The hockey is a much, much faster pace but I’m enjoying every minute of it and really excited about the forthcoming season.”
Chris Eardley, Head of School at Toot Hill, said: “ A huge congratulations to Charlie for signing a contract with a major team in the United States. Charlie has embodied the school’s ‘Work Hard, Be Kind, Take Pride’ ethos and thoroughly deserves this amazing opportunity.
“Furthermore, he has remained incredibly humble throughout the hockey selection process. We wish him all the best for the future and look forward to seeing and hearing about his experiences in AAA ice hockey.”
Charlie came through the junior ranks at Nottingham ice Hockey Club after taking up the sport at the age of nine. He played for the Midlands Conference under-13 and under-15 teams and was also part of the prestigious England National Development Programme.
Charlie’s Mum, Mala Henry, said: “We are incredibly proud of Charlie. He has always kept his goals and dreams alive by training hard, competing and continuing to improve to be the very best version of himself.
“He’s made a lot of sacrifices along the way but anyone that knows him, knows once his mind is set on a goal he will do all he can to fulfil it. We love watching him play. It can be enjoyable and nerve-racking at the same time – win or lose the goalie always stands out. Many of his games will be lived streamed, so it will be fantastic to still be able to watch him.”
Charlie is also continuing with his schooling at a private school linked to the club on a part scholarship. He’s chosen some challenging subjects including criminology, world history and Spanish.
“My advice to anyone looking to pursue a career in their chosen sport is, if you have a dream, chase it,” Charlie added. “Set your sights really high – network, put yourself out there, find your way and do everything you can to make it happen”.
Charlie is looking for sponsorship for the next coming 2022-2023 season. Should you wish to help please contact 07967 784087.