Lancing’s Aston Lacey on representing Team GB and his NHL dreams
- Credit: Jim Holden
Lancing-based teenager Aston Lacey is skating his way to success after being selected to play roller hockey for his country
Aston Lacey's dream of playing for the National Hockey League (NHL) in America came a step closer in 2017 when the 14-year-old from Lancing picked up a gold medal for Great Britain's roller hockey team at the AAU Junior Olympics in Los Angeles. And this July he is set to pull on his Team GB jersey once more when he takes on Europe's best in Italy.
Aston has been hockey mad since first putting on a pair of skates at the age of seven and now plays competitively up and down the country and around the world in under-15s ice hockey, roller ball hockey and roller puck hockey. He has picked up quite a few trophies too - he won the roller ball nationals last season with his London Knightz under-15s team and took the roller puck nationals trophy with Brighton Stormers under-16s - making history as part of the first southern team to win the title.
His ultimate dream is to play ice hockey in the US, but with no ice rink nearby Aston travels to South London every week to play with the Streatham under-15s ice hockey team. In total he trains five days per week with his various teams, demonstrating a level of dedication that belies his age. On what keeps him motivated, Aston says: "By thinking of what I can achieve when I'm older. I want to keep playing to be the best of the best and beat the best as well."
But the cost of helping Aston achieve his dream is quite a hefty financial one, the equipment needed is not cheap and Aston's dad, Austin Lacey, has to spend hours driving him to training and his competitions.
There is no funding available, so he also has to finance all of his international competitions with Great Britain too.
"I have to ferry him everywhere because my wife doesn't drive and we have three other children at home, so someone has to look after them because they don't want to be stuck in a cold ice rink.
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"The Brighton team training is really good because that's in Southwick, but we have to get up to Streatham every Tuesday and Wednesday. The biggest killer is the petrol and the driving, but when you get asked to play for your country you just have to do it," he says.
As well as fitting in all of his school work, Aston also does a bit of work with his dad to help earn some money towards his equipment and his family have also set up a Facebook page to raise awareness of his hockey career and a GoFundMe page to help finance it.
With a couple of international games behind him in the last few months and the big game with Great Britain coming up, Aston says he is looking forward to the challenges ahead: "For the big games, I just go into them thinking that its just another league game. Because if you get nervous you start playing differently. I just hope for the best and if it goes well that's great, but if it doesn't, it doesn't."
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