A BASINGSTOKE art teacher will represent England Ice Hockey at a world masters tournament in Italy next year.

Hannah Driver will travel to Lombardy in Italy with the England team to compete in the Winter World Masters Games from January 12 to 21.

Hannah, who plays for Solent Amazons and is a teacher at Coppice Spring Academy in Pack Lane, Basingstoke, will join other female players from across the country to participate in the games.

She said: “I am looking forward to playing in the Winter World Masters Games in January. We have an incredible team of women from a variety of backgrounds and experience.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Hannah Driver

“It was an opportunity too good to miss – to play on an international scale is nerve-wracking and exciting in equal measure. We are all going to be there for the love of our wonderful sport and it will truly be a pleasure to represent British women’s ice hockey.”

Hannah first began playing ice hockey in 1988 when she saw the Basingstoke Beavers play with her family and became hooked on the sport.

She decided she wanted to play and when it was announced that a female team would be coming to the newly-opened rink – then known as the Basingstoke Panthers – she signed up and has never looked back.

Hannah was one of the founding members and was the only player from that original group still playing for the Bison Ladies when the team folded in 2018 because of concerns regarding the future of the rink, scoring the last-ever goal at playoffs.

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The team was offered ice time at the recently refurbished Slough Arena, creating a new team called Slough Sirens.

Hannah had played every season with the Panthers/Bison since 1990/91 with the exception of two seasons with Bracknell Firebees whilst working away from the area.

She joined Solent at the start of the 2022/23 season, earning her the Best Defence award at the end of the year.

Hannah has notched up more than 250 games and is well known around the rink because she has worked on the off-ice team for the Basingstoke Bison for about 16 years and is now working in the same capacity with Basingstoke Buffalo.

She hopes that the Bison will return to Basingstoke soon and that the rink will be open for many years to come.

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“I worked there from when I was 15 -22 and I still maintain it was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. We used to have the best time, all my friends were ‘rinkies’ and we all just hung out like a big happy family. I just wish future generations get to experience it because I have so many great memories from that time,” she said.

Hannah is being supported by her colleagues at Coppice Spring, and said: “I am very lucky to have such encouraging colleagues for allowing me to take this opportunity.

"The games only take place every four years and I can’t guarantee that I will be able to play in future events – at my age it takes longer to recover and I’m more prone to injuries after 33 years of playing a contact sport.”

The team is looking for sponsorship and can be contacted at icecrushersgbr@gmail.com.