Young Lightning stopper to get a shot at the big time

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Lightning netminder Jordan Hedley isn’t just happy to have signed for the club at the age of just 16, he wants to be first choice between the pipes.

Almost a year after making his Lightning debut in a home pre-season friendly against Telford Tigers, the youngster has agreed to join Lightning as Stephen Wall’s understudy in 2013-14.

Hedley becomes the fifth locally-trained player on the Lightning roster this season, having been third choice for the last campaign, learning from Wall and the recently departed Alex Mettam.

Hedley’s impressive clean sheet in Lightning 3-0 victory over Telford last September marked the beginning of an incredible 12 months for the city teenager who was named goalie of the tournament as his South West team clinched the recent Conference Finals title in Hull.

And while turning out for MK Thunder several times in the 2012-13 campaign, Hedley – who came through the MK Storm junior ranks – has also been making a big impression on the national scene.

With his 17th birthday fast approaching, the shot stopper has been involved in trials for Great Britain’s U20 squad, and also in the running for a place in GB’s U18 team, he could yet go on to represent both age groups at forthcoming World Championships in Scotland.

But despite his undoubted talents, Hedley – who has also represented England at every stage from U13s to U16s – said the offer to play for Lightning this season came as a bit of a shock.

He said: “I was expecting just to play another year with the Thunder, but this is what I really wanted. I’m going to train as hard as I can and try to play games.

“I’ve really enjoyed playing for Thunder – it was a tough year but they’re a great bunch of guys and it was good getting to play with and against some very good players.

“It taught me a lot – how to play a more consistent game and how to adapt to playing senior hockey.

“It’s going to be a very big year for me to prove I deserve my place in the EPL. It’s a big role but I’m excited about the season and can’t wait to get stuck in.

“It’s been a fantastic year for me and to be able to look at the new fixtures knowing I might be playing is great.”