Blackburn’s ice hockey team is holding trials for its first women’s league this weekend, in a push to get more women into the sport.

Blackburn Hawks was founded in 1991, creating a pathway from youth to senior teams for players and the potential to reach professional leagues.

The open trials will take place on Saturday, July 8, after the club accepted not having a pathway into senior hockey for girls who progress through the club is "not good enough in 2023".

Darren Wilson, head coach of the team, is passionate about encouraging more diversity within the club and wants more women to try out the sport this weekend, with the hope of setting up a women's team.

He said: “When girls get to 16, we feel bad that they have nowhere to go to an adult team at Blackburn.

“We are having to see them leave the town and go to Leeds, Bradford or Manchester to play women’s ice hockey.

“In 2023, we ask ourselves why we haven’t got as much leverage in sports for women as we do for men and it’s not good enough.”

Blackburn Hawks has always had a male senior’s team, but this will be its first senior women’s side, in order to “encourage more women to join a typically male dominated league”.

Youth teams start from four of five years of age and run up into teenage years, until the player is ready to progress into seniors.

The Hawks also collaborate with other teams in the North West area to ensure the best players receive proper chances to pursue a professional career.

There has been a smaller women’s ice hockey team in Blackburn previously, however the Hawks operate on a larger and more commercial scale, already receiving kit sponsors from local businesses.

Mr Wilson added: “This is long term recruitment to make sure any female who wants to play ice hockey can do it in a safe environment, where there’s equality and help available for them to play on the ice exactly the same way as men do.”

The Blackburn Hawks women's open trials will take place on Saturday, July 8, at Planet Ice Blackburn Arena, in Lower Audley Street, from 4.45pm to 5.45pm.