A HAMPSHIRE ice hockey team is under threat after rink prices nearly double.
Solent Devils members say venue costs will rise by nearly 50%, leaving many families “devastated” with children kicked out of the game.
The team, who play Planet Ice at Gosport, will see junior team prices rise from £103 to £150.
Parents and players say the Fareham Road rink is the ‘only option’ with the second nearest rink in Basingstoke.
The team is now looking for sponsors to help ease their financial pressures.
He hasn’t received a sponsorship since the pandemic.
Solent Devils member James Coleman-Powell says his son is “passionate” about the sport.
The 34-year-old said: “My son fell a lot but always gets back up and really enjoys it.
“For us, it’s not about all the anger over the awards, it’s about putting our kids on the ice.
“We have already lost a lot of our young players because of the future increase.
“It’s a bigger increase for kids of £150, which closely matches what adult players are already paying, which is why it hits younger players harder.
“It already costs up to £400 for a pair of skates. It’s already one of the most expensive sports, so it’s a huge hit.”
Chris and Sam Brown who live next door to the rink say the price hike is a “massive kick in the teeth”.
Sam, 38, said she hoped the rink would reconsider the big hit and plan a slower increase for teams under 12.
She said: “Ice hockey is unlike any other game and it’s not just a sport, but it’s a team that brings kids together.
“My son loves to play and be with his friends and it would be heartbreaking to take that away from him.”
Seven-year-old Lucas said: “I like ice hockey, it’s really good. It would be really bad if I couldn’t play.”
Team volunteers say they don’t blame Planet Ice for the increases, as the cost of living and rising bills have affected everyone.
A Planet Ice spokesperson said: “This is an unfortunate situation that affects everyone. For us, energy prices increase by 250% in October.
“The price of Diables du Solent increases by 50%, but it will take two years to stagger the increase.
“We had planned an increase in 2019, but it was blocked due to the pandemic. We let the sport recover and now we are moving forward with those plans.”
For more information visit www.solentdevils.co.uk.
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