Fast growing ice hockey team nets sponsorship deal with multi-service provider

Leeds’ first home-grown junior ice hockey team has netted a two-year sponsorship deal with a multi-service provider to further facilitate its fast growth.

Servo Group, which has offices in Leeds and London will be the match-day sponsor and shorts sponsor for Leeds Junior Knights, an ice-hockey club which was only set up three months ago.

Leeds Junior Knights, which train and play home games at the recently opened Planet Ice stadium near Elland Road has enjoyed phenomenal success and popularity since it was established in August. The club already has over 100 5–18-year old’s playing every week, with 62 registered to play within local leagues.

Chairman, Seth Bennett said: “The growth of the club has been amazing, it’s the first time that kids have been able to play junior ice hockey in Leeds, before it would have had to be Bradford or Manchester. The enthusiasm has been phenomenal though and we have teams at the top of their division in every league as well as more than ten players who have already represented either England or the North of England, including two girls who have represented Great Britain.”

The club is reliant on corporate sponsorship from firms like Servo, as it’s expensive to run – it can cost up to £500 to set up game days for each club.

This is the latest of a host of local sports teams that multi-service provider Servo has supported, in the past two years it has provided more than £20,000 in sponsorship to grassroots and youth teams. Servo Group provides security services, CCTV, rail labour, facilities management, and construction services to clients around the country and has over 1000 operatives working on its sites. It has achieved fast, national growth since its inception in 2014 and is expected to double its turnover in the next two years.

Glen Crosthwaite from Servo said: “We’re always keen to support grassroots sports as we know so many clubs run on a tight budget so as many kids as possible can be involved and supporting Leeds Junior Knights is particularly exciting because of the buzz surrounding the club despite it being so new. It’s great to see youngsters in Leeds having the opportunity to try this game for the first time, and to see so many of them going on to excel at it.”

Leeds Junior Knights was established by Seth Bennett and Head Coach, Mike Forbes back in August. Seth has always had a passion for ice hockey, playing himself from ages 14 until around 20 and gaining coaching qualifications in North America.

Seth is a sports broadcaster who has commented on ice hockey and other sports for BBC World News and 5live as well as covering the past three Olympic games.

He went on to say: “We’re incredibly grateful to have the support of an organisation like Servo. It’s important to us that as many kids as possible get the chance to try the game if they want to but it can be quite expensive. Getting the full kit obviously costs a lot more than a pair of football or rugby boots but we don’t want people to be put off because they think they can’t afford it – thanks to corporate sponsorship like Servo’s we have kit and equipment that we can loan out so anyone who wants to give it a go can.”

Traditionally a transatlantic game, ice-hockey has become one of the fastest growing sports in the UK within the past two years. Following Great Britain’s success in the World Championship in 2018, it became the third most watched indoor sport in Britain but it has been badly hit by Covid especially at grassroots level.

Leeds Junior Knights train at Planet Ice two nights a week and play matches at weekends – home games at the stadium and away games across the north of England. Boys and girls of all ages from five to 18 are welcome, with youngsters registered in the learn to play section first and then progressing to the teams that play in the league.

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