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Odyssey Academy – students get Giant scoop on pro hockey life

Young people from the Odyssey Academy have spent the day at the home of the Belfast Giants, finding out what it’s like to be a professional hockey player.

The students got the chance to interview Giants captain Adam Keefe and teammate Brandon Benedict, plus fellow Giant and Team GB international Colin Shields.

It comes as the SSE Arena hosts the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships, with GB hoping to win a gold medal.

At the time of the Odyssey Academy media day, GB were tied with Japan and Lithuania on two wins out of two games played.

As Keefe told the OA: “I know Japan are coming down from the pool above, so they’re probably the team to watch.

“But hopefully Team GB will be playing them for the gold medal on Saturday.”

The students have been undertaking a series of workshops, to basically learn about all elements of event management at the SSE Arena – from health and safety, to looking after the site, catering and stewarding.

On Tuesday, they then took their turn taking over Giants TV – the media team responsible for, among other things, coverage of Belfast Giants games – under the expert guidance of David Lowry and Neil Whiteside.

The students had to prepare for a stint as sports journalists by researching the players and their careers, planning questions, and then conducting their own interviews on camera.

They got the low-down on what it’s like being a Giant, and life in Belfast – on and off the ice.

Some of the questions the budding reports came up with included how and why the Giants ended up playing in their respective positions, who their toughest opponents had been so far, what their pre-game rituals or preparations are, and how some of them (ahem, Keefer!) had racked up so many penalty minutes!

The young people picked up a lot of skills along the way, many of which should transfer into other situations, as they worked as a team to create this article and the video below.

Cherith, a peer mentor from Include Youth said: “Today has been a great opportunity for young people to see behind the scenes and put new interview skills into practice.”

One of the students, Jake, added: “It was enlightening to see how the whole process of being part of the media team actually works – the little things you don’t normally see.”