ICE HOCKEY: A TEENAGER from Chafford Hundred has been selected to play for the England ice hockey team.

Ethan Boolkah, 14, who lives in the borough but goes to school at Westcliff High School for Boys in Southend, has wowed selectors and will play for his country at under-15 level.

The youngster is already an ice star at the Chelmsford rink where he plays for his club. And he’s been picked up to play for the South East team where his potential was spotted early on.

A member of the England set up last year, Ethan travelled to the Czech Republic and to Hungary to compete in tournaments against two of the best ice hockey playing nations in the world. And this year he’ll pack his puck and travel to both Sweden and Switzerland with the England team. Ethan’s mum, Oki Boolkah, said the youngster – who attended Warren Primary school in Thurrock as a youngster – started skating when he was seven years old and initially hated being on the ice.

She said: “I took Ethan to Romford ice rink. It was a horrible rainy day and I was looking for something to do.

“He was definitely not struck with skating straight away. “But I would not let him off the ice until he had skated all around the rink without falling over. “We went a few more times, but as soon as he saw the other lads training for ice hockey he got much more interested in the control and the skill needed to play. “He’d never been into football, but he’s played rugby so was not concerned about the physical contact side of the sport,” she added.

Ethan started with Romford’s under-10s and then made it into both the under-12 and under-14 outfits before Romford ice rink closed its doors in April last year and the family was left looking for a new club. This was harder than it sounds. The family went to rinks and clubs at Slough, Guildford and Lee Valley before deciding that Chelmsford – with its adult Chieftains team – offered the best chance to play and train at a high level.

And since starting out there in May 2013 he’s also been selected for the club’s under 16s, playing under coach Sean Easton and also for the English national side and South East under-15s.

At Chelmsford his defensive skills have helped his club into an almost certain second in the league slot and the team will also travel to the nationals which take place in Sheffield in May.

For the full story see today's THURROCK GAZETTE