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27 -August -2014 - 18:09

Tigers v Steeldogs, Saturday 30th August 2014. The Bradfield Brewery Cup

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It's All In the Science For Teacher O'Flaherty

Telford Tigers forward Gareth O'Flaherty. Picture courtesy & copyright Steve Brodie PhotographyGareth O’Flaherty believes his joint career as an ice hockey player and teacher will stand him good stead as he looks to secure his future at Telford Tigers.

The 24-year-old, who signed for Telford at the start of the season, is combining playing in the English Premier League with his studies to become a secondary school science teacher.

He is currently carrying out a PGCE placement in Loughborough and trains during the evenings in Telford, before returning home to teach the next day.

O’Flaherty, who impressed at pre-season trials last year, admits he is still developing his game - but is determined to build a career with the Tigers. He said: “I attended the open try-outs, then Tom Watkins gave me a ring a few weeks later and said he was interested in signing me.

"Of course, I am learning the ropes all the time and developing as much as possible. I am also really enjoying it, which is always important.

“Combining the two is tough and I don’t have much spare time, but it is my decision, so I will make sure it works.

“My intention is to definitely stay at Telford in the future, but obviously that isn’t my decision. I want to keep on developing and when given the chance, I have shown that I can play well alongside anyone. Hopefully, Tom will bear than in mind for next season.”

Being an ice hockey player in a secondary school generates a huge amount interest amongst Gareth’s students - and he often finds himself the centre of attention.

“The first thing the pupils ask is, do I get into a lot of fights,” he added.

“I’m not really known as much of a fighter, to be honest, but every time I go into school with a cut on my face from playing, they want to know how it happened.

“I get a lot of questions about who I play for and they show a lot of interest, which is good fun.”

The former Nottingham Lions forward, who collected 51 points in 23 ENL games last season, has just four points this year, albeit with much less ice time.

And while the arrival of star players like Ricky Plant and Joe Miller has grabbed all the headlines, O’Flaherty is continuing to quietly learn his trade.

He said: “This season has been quite tough, but at the same time it is exciting to have these experienced players to learn from in my first EPL year.

“It is great to listen to them during practice and games, and pick up as much as possible.”

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