We spoke with Phantoms defenceman, Joe Hazeldine, for the first time since his loan move from the Nottingham Panthers. He discusses a range of topics including his career aspirations, his time with GB, He reflects on last week’s games and looks ahead to this weekend.
Hazeldine’s loan move was announced last Friday and the young defenceman was thrown straight in at the deep end as he iced in Friday night’s National Cup Semi-Final Second Leg victory over the Hull Pirates.
He was delighted to get the move over the line in order to gain ice time which is undoubtedly invaluable for a young player as promising as Hazeldine.
“I’m happy to have signed a loan for the rest of the season I love playing and it has been limited this year, so this loan deal with Peterborough is great. All I want to do is play and Slava has given me that chance to develop for the rest of the year.” Said Hazeldine.
At 18-years-old, Hazeldine comes into the Phantoms squad as one of the youngest members, but he knows he needs to be playing regular shifts every week and that is something he’ll be looking to do during his loan stint in Peterborough.
“For a young guy to be playing, it’s important. That’s where we learn the most in our apprentice years and game time is only going to help that, so for me being younger and playing a part in this end of year battle is massive and only going to help me going forward.” Hazeldine said.
Despite his age, Hazeldine has played a number of senior hockey games in his career to date. He has the Swindon Wildcats and Telford Tigers on his CV, as well as the Nottingham Panthers and, now, the Peterborough Phantoms.
Hazeldine said: “Playing a lot of senior games helps with experience, especially in big games. Seeing how professionals conduct themselves every day and trying to learn off them as much as you can is the priority. So, with Phantoms having a lot of those big games coming up, I’m excited for sure and just want to be a part of those games. That’s why we all play hockey for the big games coming up and to try and win some silverware.”
He’s also a GB Junior International and recently won a silver medal in the World Junior Championships in Lithuania. He played an important role in Martin Grubb’s team, picking up three assists across the five games.
“Representing GB is always an honour and I hope to do it for the rest of my career. Four trips and three trophies isn’t a bad return, I guess, so I just hope that luck stays with me! I always enjoy the trips being away for a couple weeks playing hockey it’s great!” Said the GB 20’s star.
And he is clear about what he wants to achieve during his time in the Peterborough Phantoms organisation. He also spoke about his career goals and aspirations, as he looks to progress as far as he can in the sport he loves.
“My time in Peterborough for the rest of this year is going to be great! We are desperate for that cup and hopefully we can make our mark in the league. It relies on teams hopefully slipping up, but we can only control winning our games. My ultimate goal in hockey is to play at the best level I can whether that be in England or in Europe, making a career out of something you love doing is the prize, and not many people can say that.” Said the Phantoms’ new #36.
As previously mentioned, Hazeldine came into the line-up last Friday against the Hull Pirates and took to the ice again on Sunday as the Phantoms made it seven wins on the spin with an entertaining victory over the Swindon Wildcats.
“The two games last week were unbelievable, I just enjoyed being out there. It took some time getting used to the size of the rink and getting my confidence back, but we came out with two great results against top teams and that’s all we can ask for!” Joe said.
Looking ahead to the weekend, it’s a one game week for the Phantoms as the Bracknell Bees visit Planet Ice Peterborough on Saturday night. Hazeldine is wary of the importance of every game and is expecting another good one on Saturday.
“The one game this week against Bracknell, again all games at this time of year are important so we know we’ve got a job to do, the schedule has been kind to us and just gave us one game so no excuses and we can leave it all out there. It’s going to be a good game.” Hazeldine said.
And he ended with the following message to the Phantoms fans: “The fans have been great every game I’ve played so I won’t be expecting anything less this week or for the remainder of the year, it really makes a difference for the boys giving us that energy when we need it!”
Tickets are available HERE for Saturday’s game against the Bees. Doors will open at 6pm with face off at 7pm.
If you can’t make it to the match, full match updates will appear on our Twitter account, @GoPhantoms.