Friday, 21 August 2020

Peelers IHC First Training Session At Widnes

Neil Herring puts the Peelers players through their paces.  (Photo by Robert Martin). 

A brand new ice hockey team took to the ice for the first time at the Planet Ice rink in Widnes last week with the debut training session of the Peelers IHC Northern Police club.

The Peelers are named after the founder of the UK police service Sir Robert Peel and the club is aimed at people who have an association with the police including Police Officers, PCSOs, Special Constables, civilian staff and ex-members or employees. It has players with a wide range of experience and ability from former GB internationals down to complete beginners.

Despite only having been in existence for a few months, the fledgling club actually has some 60 team members in total from 12 different police forces and constabularies across the north of England. However, due to shift pattern working and travelling distances, the plan is to rotate training sessions around other rinks across the country so that everybody gets an equal chance to be involved.

The training session was run by Peelers club coach Neil Herring, who has a vast experience in the game having previously been involved with the Manchester Storm and Hull Pirates teams and is also a team sponsor via his company Kip's Skate Workshop (click here for details ). Belfast Giants GB international gold medal winning player  Paul Swindlehurst was a guest coach for the session at Widnes on Thursday and they put the Peelers players through their paces, starting off with a brief introduction to the rules and a run through of the upcoming drills.

The group of players in attendance - some of whom were playing for the first time - were then split into 6 groups, with each group practising different manoeuvres on the ice at intervals. The coaches, who supervised the session on the ice, put the players through various skating and passing drills, with an emphasis on speed of movement and puck control.

The two goalies on the team were also put through their paces, with a number of shooting drills and scrimmages taking place towards the end of the session.

A great time was had by all and it will be exciting to see going forward how this new team gets on.

Sergeant Andy Cooper of Cheshire Police, one of the organisers behind the new team, said:

I’m a complete novice and, up until March, I had never picked a hockey stick up. It’s always been a goal to play and an opportunity to learn came along with this new team. It’s great to have the Elite League coaches supporting the session - it also buys interest for the more advanced players going forward to be coached by pros.”

Vanessa Crickmore-Clarke - who also plays for the Widnes Wild womens team and won the women’s league title last season - is one of the more experienced players on the Peelers team. She said:

“I had a really excellent time - it was a positive event after the impact of the virus. It’s really good that the development of the team was able to happen despite the pandemic. Any coaching will help; you can always learn something new. It’s good to be able to sharpen up your abilities and be able to brush your skills up.”

The team intends to meet once a month at different rinks throughout the north of England, with training sessions lasting a few hours to make the most of the time. The plan for fixtures looking ahead is to play charity games, with the hope of creating a league in the near future with other emergency teams.

Report by Robert Martin 

You can hear Robert's interview with organiser Scott here:

Friday, 14 August 2020

New Book: 60 Years Of The Altrincham Aces by Stuart Latham


For anybody interested in British ice hockey, Stuart Latham has put together a great new book about the history of the Altrincham Aces. For orders placed via Stuart direct or through the Altrincham club - once they can start having games again, at least - 40% of the proceeds will go to the Aces team – which is great news.

Contents include:
The original Altrincham Aces (1961-1987)
Trafford Metros (1987-1995)
Altrincham Aces – Reborn (1995-2002)
Altrincham Aces – Modern Era (since 2015)

The book is packed with league tables, player statistics and lots of great photos courtesy of Walter Bayliss, Rob Hutchinson & Mark Ferriss.

Early club information courtesy of Richard Jones

Guest articles from Lol Paul, Simon Mills, Sarah Hutchinson, Thomas Revesz, Aran Fox, Paule Mayoh, Sam Dunford, Sean Jones, and Paul Breeze


176 pages B5 format.
Price 15.99 plus £4.50 p&p
ISBN: 978-1-8381165-0-7


For order details and information about other great books, check out Stuart's sales website HERE

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Book Review: Brighton Tigers - A Story Of Sporting Passion

A lot of modern ice hockey fans probably won’t know that the Brighton Tigers were a big part of hockey history from the opening of their superb SS (Sports Stadium) in the 1930s right up until it was controversially closed in 1965 just when British ice hockey was slowly edging towards its next golden era.

However, I have been watching ice hockey just about long enough to remember the valiant Brighton BVH Royals team who kept the hockey flag flying for the South Coast in Division 3 of the British League where they had to play all of their games away for double points so - as a keen reader of Stewart Roberts’ excellent Ice Hockey Annual over the years, I have always followed the various campaigns to get a new ice rink built in Brighton and, when Stewart announced that he was working on this history of the former Tigers team, I knew it would be something special.

While the main thrust of this book is, obviously, the Tigers teams of the 1930s to the 1960s there is a very interesting introduction that tells of earlier rinks in the Brighton area – namely the Victorian circular rink that operated from 1897-1901 and then a more modern facility at Hove (1929-1932).

This book is an absolute mine of information. Who knew, for example, that while most leisure facilities were closed for the duration of World War 2, the Brighton Sports Stadium had ice hockey matches on every week featuring a mixture of local players and visiting Canadian servicemen…?

There is a complete player directory of everybody who ever turned out for the Tigers teams - and that is quite an achievement in itself bearing in mind the scarcity of statistical information from the pre-war and immediate post war periods - as well as lots of great photos of many of the stars.

I may be slightly biased as this is the sort of book that I like to produce myself  - as well as to read - but it means that I can easily appreciate the huge amount of work that is involved in putting this sort of thing together  – seeking out all the facts and figures, getting permission for all the photos, checking and rechecking all the data…  It’s is a huge undertaking and even more so when a lot of the people are dead and there is nobody around to ask anything!

Whether you’re a modern hockey fan – or a bit of a nostalgia fan like me – or maybe know nothing about it and want to find out more, this book is definitely worth read.

And you don’t have to take my word for it – here are comments that a few other people have made:

“Book arrived yesterday, thank you. I've got to say how very impressed I am with it. You should be very proud. An everlasting history of the famous Brighton Tigers and an absolute must for Tigers (Bengals) fans everywhere and for sports fans generally in Brighton.” - Gordon Wade, Heineken League statistician.

“Received through the post yesterday a copy of your book on Brighton Tigers. It is excellent - superb lay-out and illustrations. Congratulations on a wonderful achievement that provides a comprehensive record of the sport in Brighton. And can be used as a powerful PR tool to 'sell' Brighton to any potential developers as the place in the UK to locate a new ice facility.” - David Gordon, ice hockey historian and member of Britain's Hall of Fame committee.

“Thanks for sending the book so quickly. I’m having fun dipping in and out of it from time to time and it’s really interesting to hear and see what went on before I was even born. I think it’s a fabulous book, very striking and smart-looking and very well put together.” - Vicki Gardner, Brighton resident.

“Really enjoying the book - Great work! And a real history lesson too, makes me wanna get the skates on!” - Gary O'Brien, son of Tigers' legend Mike O'Brien.

You can order your copy of the book via Amazon HERE

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Launch Of the "Peelers IHC" Northern Police Team


A new ice hockey team will be taking its first steps at the Planet Ice rink in Widnes this July with the first ever training session of the brand new Peelers IHC Northern Police team.

The Peelers are named after the founder of the UK police service Sir Robert Peel and, despite having only been formed a few weeks ago – in the middle of the Covid 19 lockdown - already have some 60 team members from across 12 different police forces and constabularies across the north of England.

The club is aimed at people who have an association with the police including Police Officers, PCSO, Special Constables, Communication Staff, Police Staff and Ex Members or employees and has players with a wide range of experience and ability from former GB internationals down to complete beginners.

The team plan to meet once a month at a different rink around the north of the country so as to balance out the travelling for members who are based further away and to hold training camp style sessions of 4 to 5 hours duration to make the most of the time together. 

The Peelers IHC will initially be playing memorial and charity games but there are also plans to set up  tournaments and a league with other emergency services teams.

To find out more about the Peelers IHC, follow their Facebook page HERE 


Sunday, 7 June 2020

North West Lions Set To Roar


Recreational players from across the North West have been invited to join a new ice hockey team, which will see them taking part in overseas tournaments - flying the flag for their region and country.

Rather like the British Lions rugby union representative team, the new North West Lions tournament ice hockey team has been set up especially to play matches abroad and, as its name suggests, will comprise players taken from the north west rinks of Widnes, Deeside, Altrincham and Blackburn.

With the costs and time commitments involved in travelling abroad for this sort of event being a problem for many, it has always been difficult in the past for regular recreational teams to get enough players to be able to take part - and the idea of this new team is to draw together a suitable pool players from across the region to be able to send a strong enough team to compete against foreign opposition.

The Lions have been invited to take part in an 8-team tournament in Vlasim in the Czech Republic next April and, assuming that the restrictions on foreign travel and sporting events have been relaxed by then, that will be their first competitive outing.

Planning is still in its very early stages and any players interested in being involved with the North West Lions are asked to get in touch via the Facebook page HERE



Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Player Of The Month Awards For February 2020

Leen de Decker (left) of the Widnes Wild women's team and Phil Pearson of the Wild NIHL team both scooped their Divisional player of the Month awards for February 2020 - the first time that two players from the same club have been selected in the same month. (Photos by Paul Breeze and Geoff White)    

The NIHL and WNIHL have announced the winners of the OddBalls Player of the Month awards for February 2020.

In the National Ice Hockey League the winners are:
NATIONAL DIVISION: Martins Susters (Peterborough Phantoms)
DIVISION 1 NORTH: Richard Lawson (Whitley Warriors)
DIVISION 1 SOUTH: Ryan Watt (Streatham IHC)
DIVISION 2 NORTH: Phil Pearson (Widnes Wild)
DIVISION 2 SOUTH: Josh Abbott (Guildford Phoenix)

Across the Women’s National Ice Hockey League, the divisional winners are:
ELITE LEAGUE: Sarah Hutchinson (Solihull Vixens)
PREMIER LEAGUE: Libby Bird (Kingston Diamonds)
DIVISION ONE NORTH: Leen de Decker (Widnes Wild)
DIVISION ONE SOUTH: Ellen Jo Cole (Coventry Phoenix)
UNDER 16 NORTH: Ava Breuza (Kingston Diamonds)
UNDER 16 SOUTH: Lily Endicott (Swindon Top Kittens)

All winners receive an Obble hat, courtesy of the prize sponsors, clothing company OddBalls.

OddBalls are an underwear and clothing brand who raise money and awareness for testicular cancer. They have also recently partnered with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust using their women’s clothing ranges to raise money and awareness of cervical cancer.

Their latest ranges of men’s, women’s and kids clothing as well as accessories like umbrellas and towels can be found online at www.myoddballs.com .

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

NIHL Player of the Month Awards For January 2020

Shaun Dippnall of Widnes Wild won the Laidler Division award for January (photo by Geoff White / gw-images.com)
The NIHL are pleased to announce the winner of January’s Player of the Month, presented in association with OddBalls.
Each divisional winner receives an iconic ‘Obble’ hat courtesy of our sponsors.
Once again the standard was very high and the final choice was a difficult one, however congratulations to each of the winners.

National Division – Jason Hewitt (Hull Pirates)

North 1 (Moralee) – Harry Harley (Whitley Warriors)

North 2 (Laidler) – Shaun Dippnall (Widnes Wild)

South 1 (Britton) – Rupert Quiney (Streatham IHC)

South 2 (Wilkinson) – Petr Cech (Guildford Phoenix)

OddBalls are an underwear and clothing brand who raise money and awareness for testicular cancer.  They have also recently partnered with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust using their women’s clothing ranges to raise money and awareness of cervical cancer.
Their latest ranges of men’s, women’s and kids clothing as well as accessories like umbrellas and towels can be found online at www.myoddballs.com.

WNIHL Player of the Month Awards For January 2020

The WNIHL management are pleased to announce their Players of the Month for January, presented in association with OddBalls.
Each winner receives an iconic ‘Obble’ hat courtesy of our sponsors.
Elite – Saffron Allen (Solihull Vixens)
Premier – Mackenzie Wilding (Cardiff Comets)
Division 1 – Lucy Farestvedt (Coventry Phoenix)
U16 North – Melissa Veal (Kingston Diamonds)
U16 South – Ellie Wallace (Swindon Top Kittens)
OddBalls are an underwear and clothing brand who raise money and awareness for testicular cancer. They have also recently partnered with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust using their women’s clothing ranges to raise money and awareness of cervical cancer.
Their latest ranges of men’s, women’s and kids clothing as well as accessories like umbrellas and towels can be found online at www.myoddballs.com.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Oddballs Player Of The Month Awards For November 2019

Widnes Wild woman's team captain Emma Pearson was named WNIHL Div 1 North Player of the Month for November (Photo by Paul Breeze)


The National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) and Women’s National Ice Hockey League (WNIHL) have announced their Oddballs Players of the Month for November.


Each winner will receive an ‘Obble Hat’ courtesy of our friends at Oddballs. Oddballs manufacture clothing and underwear for men, women and kids while at the same time raising funds and awareness for testicular cancer.

 
NIHL NATIONAL

The shortlist for November is: Jason Hewitt (Hull Pirates), Scott MacKenzie (Telford Tigers), Dan Weller-Evans (Basingstoke Bison).

November’s NIHL National Player of the Month is DAN WELLER-EVANS. In a run of starts this month, Weller-Evans won five of six games and posted save percent and goals against average among the top goalies in the league.


NIHL NORTH

Division 1 (Moralee) has shortlisted Phil Edgar (Whitley Warriors), Lewis Houston (Solway Sharks) and Tom Soar (Solihull Barons).

The Oddballs POTM for November is PHIL EDGAR. In his third season with Whitley, Edgar has led the Hillheads outfit to Cup semi finals and top of the league, potting seven goals including a hat-trick against Solihull Barons.

Division 2 (Laidler) shortlist for the month is Warren Gilfoyle (Hull Jets), James Shaw (Dragons), Vlads Vulkanovs (Altrincham Aces).

The winner of the November award is VLADS VULKANOVS. The Latvian hit the net in all six games, totalling 13 goals with two hat-tricks as the Aces push up towards the playoff spots.

NIHL SOUTH

In Division 1 (Britton), the three shortlisted players were Christian Cole (Solent Devils), Ben Ealey-Newman (Bracknell Hornets), David Millner (Bracknell Hornets).

November’s winner is CHRISTIAN COLE. ‘Chico’ posted .918 save percentage in the month as Devils kept their unbeaten record at the top of a super-competitive title race.

Wilkinson Division 2 have named Joe Bliss (Invicta Mustangs), Jake Luton (Invicta Mustangs) and Bailey Wooton (Peterborough Phantoms 2) as their shortlist.

The November winner is JOE BLISS. Mustangs were a perfect 6&0 in the month backed by Bliss’ 10 goals and nine helpers.


WOMEN’S NATIONAL ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE

First of all in WNIHL, the Elite League player of the month is MEGAN BURTON (Solihull Vixens). Megan made the step up to senior women’s hockey last season, asking if she could train with the Vixens. Her focus and hard work got her noticed and she was offered a team spot at the start of 2019 and has been a regular team member ever since. Megan’s focus, work rate and dedication has not faltered or wained since and she has now become a stable, composed, mature and reliable top line D partner. The Vixens played 2 games in November, winning 5-4 and 6-0 with Megan not missing a shift and picking up a +- of +7 over the 2 games.

In the Premier League, the POTM is MYA HAREWOOD (Cardiff Comets). As the youngest player on our team, Mya may be small, but she is mighty. In November we gained our first point in the Premier League in a draw against Chelmsford Cobras which Mya was integral for. She scored a fantastic hat-trick in the game – all unassisted – and was a force on the power plays. She truly stepped up to the challenge of this new league, and continues to be an inspiration for players new and old to the team.

For Division 1 South, the WNIHL POTM is JODIE ATTRILL (Slough Sirens). Jodie has been voted in as captain this season and has been leading by example with great attitude both on and off of the ice. This includes assisting the coach by ensuring off ice warm up is undertaken and getting everyone mentally ready for the game. Jodie played a vital part in our win over Streatham this month as she has changed her style of play in which she lead the girls to work hard and get the win

Finally in Division 1 North, EMMA PEARSON (Widnes Wild) is the Player of the Month. Emma had a hand in seven of the teams nine goals in the month, along with the encouragement given to beginner players on and off the ice as well as setting up off ice sessions for the players. She does a large amount off the ice as well with managing the team Fixtures Live.

Congratulaions to all winners and nominees, the Oddballs ‘Obble’ hats are on their way. Thanks to our friends at Oddballs for their continued support, visit www.myoddballs.com  to view their full ranges for men, women and kids.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

NIHL National Division: Leeds Chiefs 1 - Swindon Wildcats 4 (Played at Widnes)


Team warm ups - Photo by Paul Breeze

National Division ice hockey made a rare appearance in Widnes on Sunday as the Leeds Chiefs played a home game against Swindon Wildcats at the Planet Ice Rink.

Leeds are a new team to ice hockey this season and, as their new home rink at Elland Road is not yet complete, they are having to play "home" games at other venues to avoid a fixture backlog later in the season.

This was the first ice hockey match at national league level to be played at the Widnes rink since Manchester Phoenix played Swindon there back in January 2017 and was, therefore, of interest to many hockey fans from across the country, as well as local Wild fans.

With the Swindon Wildcats leading the National Division at the start of the weekend and the Chiefs sitting bottom with just 3 wins and just 7 points from 13 games, it always looked likely that this game would see an away win. Swindon took the lead on 12 minutes but the Leeds Chiefs gave as good as they got and honours were otherwise pretty much equal in terms of possession and shots of goal in the first period.

The second period was just as entertaining to watch, with end-to-end hockey, although the Wildcats out-shot Leeds by 19 to 10. Just as it looked as if the period would play out goal-less, Swindon fired in 2 quick-fire goals within 30 seconds of each other in the 39th minute and this handed them a huge advantage, taking a 0 – 3 lead into the second period break.

Leeds finally managed to find the back of the net in the 49th minute, with a fine strike from Radek Meidl but that was as good as it got for the home side. Swindon restored the 3-goal advantage 3 minutes later and the score remained 1 - 4 at the final buzzer.

The Leeds Chiefs have two more "home" games scheduled to be played at the Planet Ice Arena in Blackburn during November and then hope to have their home Leeds rink ready to stage matches from December onwards.

GB Under 18 Women Win 4-Team Tournament In Dumfries


Great Britain U18 Women are the winners of the 4Nations tournament in Dumfries following a 4-2 victory over Poland U18 Women on the final day.
GB came from 2-0 down to clinch success and add to their victories over Spain U18 Women and Iceland Women earlier in the tournament.
The two teams took part in a perfectly-observed silence for Remembrance Day before face-off.
There were no goals in the opening session but Lucy Beal and Emily Harris (short-handed) had chances for GB inside the opening 10 minutes.
The game burst into life in the second period with five goals. Poland scored twice in eight seconds as Iga Schramm tapped in at far post (23:16) before a clearance deflected off Karolina Baran (23:24).
GB roared back into the game with Amy Robery and Kaitlyn Morrison setting up Sophie Campbell, whose neat forehand-backhand finish on the powerplay reduced the deficit to one (27:29).
Britain were ahead by the end of the period as Grace Garbett fed Harris who fired in her fifth goal of the tournament from the left circle (33:48), while a turnover at the Poland blueline led to Chamonix Jackson forcing the puck home (37:14).
Morrison scored GB’s fourth on a four-on-three powerplay from close range (55:20) to ensure a perfect record for GB at the 4Nations.

Head coach, Cheryl Smith, said: “Myself and the coaching staff are thrilled at what we have seen over the weekend.
“I said from the start that getting wins would be good but the performances would be the most important thing.
“The way we came back from two goals down and didn’t panic today was exceptional.
“We have a great group of girls who have worked so hard for each other and understood the gameplan for the weekend.
“We have a tough World Championship in January but we can look forward to it with confidence.”
Results
Friday 8th November
Spain U18 Women 0-3 Great Britain U18 Women
Iceland Women 1-7 Poland U18 Women
Saturday 9th November
Spain U18 Women 3-4 Poland U18 Women (after penalty shootout)
Great Britain U18 Women 4-3 Iceland Women
Sunday 10th November
Spain U18 Women 6-5 Iceland Women (after penalty shootout)
Poland U18 Women 2-4 Great Britain U18 Women
Photo credit: Helen Hobbins and Charley Keen. 

NIHL & WNIHL Player of the Month Awards For October 2019




The English Ice Hockey Association has announced the October Players of the Month for its senior leagues, presented in association with OddBalls – the underwear brand everyone is talking about.


October’s awards are the second of the season for NIHL but a first ever award for our women’s leagues, the WNIHL. Each winner will receive a distinctive OddBalls “Obble” hat courtesy of our sponsor.




The roll of honour for October 2019 is as follows:

NIHL National – Adam Barnes (Leeds Chiefs)
NIHL North 1 – Gary Russell (Solway Sharks)
NIHL South 1 – Vanya Antonov (Streatham IHC)
NIHL North 2 – Richard Haggar (Hull Jets)
NIHL South 2 – Kevin Lake (Invicta Mustangs)

WNIHL Elite – Louise Adams (Guildford Lightning)
WNIHL Premier – Steph Towns (Whitley Squaws)
WNIHL Division 1 North – Katie Russell (Solway Sharks Ladies)
WNIHL Division 1 South – Ceri Powell (Coventry Phoenix)
WNIHL U16 North – Emily Johnson (Kingston Diamonds)
WNIHL U16 South – Kayla Poole (Swindon Top Kittens)

First of all in the NIHL National Division, our October winner is Adam Barnes of Leeds Chiefs. Barnes has become a clutch player for the Chiefs scoring at least a goal in every game this month, including the game winning goal to lift the Chiefs out of tenth place in the league.
Also nominated in the NIHL National: Michal Klejna (Basingstoke Bison) and Jordan Marr (Peterborough Phantoms).
The top division of the WNIHL is the Elite League, and our first WNIHL Elite Player of the Month is Louise Adams from Guildford Lightning. Adams is recognised for her commitment to the team, leading in the locker room and on ice. Excellent performance on ice – not just for the team but is an inspiration and mentor to the younger athletes stepping up to the Elite League.
Also nominated in WNIHL Elite: Alana Clare (Solihull Vixens) and Danni Newlove (Kingston Diamonds).
In NIHL Division 1 North the award goes to Gary Russell of Solway Sharks. ‘Rusty’ made a return to NIHL this season after a spell in Elite League with Glasgow Clan and he has backstopped Sharks to an unbeaten month in League and Cup, with .919 save percentage including one shutout
Also nominated in NIHL N1: James Moss (Billingham Stars) and Tomaš Rubeš (Billingham Stars).
WNIHL Premier League is the second tier of the women’s leagues, and the first player of the month for that division is Steph Towns of Whitley Squaws. Towns stepped up to be player coach and over the summer took on recruitment and sought game sponsorship to enable team to continue in the Premier League. Towns gives 100% effort on and off ice and support to new and experienced players, encouraging the team to continue playing to their best ability right to the last whistle.
Also nominated in WNIHL Premier: Phoebe Mather (Kingston Diamonds).
Player of the month in NIHL Division 1 South is Streatham’s Vanya Antonov. Antonov has helped the High Road club to a perfect 5&0 record in the month with seven goals including a hat-trick, while also stepping up to the National division with Bracknell Bees when available.
Also nominated in NIHL S1: Grant Bartlett (Chelmsford Chieftains) and Ben Ealey-Newman (Bracknell Hornets).
Division 1 of the WNIHL is split into a north and south division. October’s player of the month in the North is Katie Russell of Solway Sharks Ladies. Russell has shown dedication and hard work in training on and off ice. Although she lives two hours from the rink she never misses a single session. She encourages new players, assists coaches in demonstrations and also coaches pee-wees at both Greenock and Braehead.
Also nominated in WNIHL D1N: Anne Maclean (Telford Wrekin Raiders).
Division 1 South’s inaugural WNIHL Player of the Month is Ceri Powell of Coventry Phoenix. Powell retired a few years ago but has come back this year fitter and faster. She takes off ice fitness sessions for the Phoenix, and encourages younger players while working hard for the team on and off the ice.
Also nominated in WNIHL D1S: Elise Willoughby (Slough Sirens) and Courtney Lewis (Solent Amazons).
NIHL Division 2 North has named Richard Haggar of Hull Jets as the October player of the month. Haggar has helped lead the Jets to the top of Laidler division with four wins from five games in the month. Bringing experience to the lineup, Haggar has contributed on the scoresheet too with six goals and nine helpers in October including a 4+3 game in Deeside.
Also nominated in NIHL N2: Kieran Beach (Hull Jets) and Oliver Hunt (Telford Tigers 2)
WNIHL’s U16 division is also split north and south and there will normally be a single award for this division. However the October nominees were so evenly matched it was decided to recognise them both.
Both winners are up and coming netminders playing for club and Conference teams. In the North the winner is Emily Johnson of Kingston Diamonds. Emily is in her first season at U16 and picked up a shutout in her second game – a bright star for the future for sure.
In the South our winner is Kayla Poole of Swindon Top Kittens. Kayla is a consistent with a 90+ save average in net. She always gives her best even when the team is being out shot. Kayla always encourages all new players to have a go.
Finally in NIHL Division 2 South, our October winner is Kevin Lake of Invicta Mustangs. Lake is captain of the Mustangs and has lead from the front this month as Invicta went 4&0 in league and cup competition. Lake has potted three goals but added an impressive ten helpers to the cause.
Also nominated in NIHL S2: Jake Luton (Invicta Mustangs) and Haydn Wooton (Guildford Phoenix).
Congratulations to all winners – the OddBalls Obble hats are on their way!
If you want to get your own OddBalls merchandise give them a visit at www.myoddballs.com – new ranges launched this month include, fittingly, umbrellas and towels. Bespoke items are also available if you want to personalise items with a logo or name.
And remember all funds raised by OddBalls go towards their campaign to raise awareness and support for testicular cancer. Their ranges now include items for women, teens and children so there’s plenty to choose from.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Widnes Ollie's Charity Hair Initiative

Ollie Cliffe (on the right) with Wild NIHL player Bez Hughes
(Photo by Geoff White)
Widnes Wild Academy junior player Ollie Cliffe is growing his hair long to raise money for the Little Princess Trust, which is a charity that provides real hair wigs to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer or other conditions.

A keen ice hockey player and fan, Ollie decided that he wanted to grow his hair long to look like some of the senior Wild players. He then decided to grow his hair even longer so that he could donate it to children who needed it. Wild NIHL player Tom Jackson did a similar thing a couple of years ago and raised £725 for the Little Princess Trust.

Ollie’s Mum Chantelle said: "This idea all came from Ollie himself and, of course, we have backed him all the way. His hair is now ten inches long and soon will be gone. We – his parents and family – are so proud of him."

Ollie is hoping to raise £500 for the Little Princess Trust and you can support his fund-raising initiative via his Just Giving page HERE






Friday, 18 October 2019

PLAYER AWARDS GET AN ODDBALL SPONSOR

The National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) are delighted to welcome OddBalls as sponsor of the Player of the Month awards.

Each divisional winner will receive one of the iconic OddBalls 'Obble' hats which will soon be available in 37 amazing colourways.

OddBalls was founded in 2014 with two main objectives: raising awareness of Testicular Cancer; and providing customers with the best underwear in the world.

The Oddballs Foundation was set up in 2016 after the success of OddBalls. Profits from OddBalls are donated to the Foundation to raise awareness of Testicular Cancer. Every single penny that is raised or donated is used to raise awareness, the Foundation has no overheads or costs and it is something they are proud to promote.

OddBalls have expanded their ranges recently to include accessories and clothing for women, teens and kids - all in fantastic designs and all raising funds for and awareness of Testicular Cancer.

We can also confirm that the Player of the Month awards have been expanded to include the WNIHL (Women's National Ice Hockey League) which began at the start of October. Five divisional players will be awarded their own OddBalls Obble and recognised as the player of that particular month.



NIHL/WNIHL media officer Craig Simpson said: "I am delighted to welcome OddBalls as the first sponsor of our Player of the Month awards, and am grateful to Will and his team for their fantastic support.

"We are also pleased to be able to extend the awards to cover the WNIHL which matches OddBalls' recent move to provide clothing for women.

"I can't wait to see the first OddBalls Player of the Month winners with their iconic headwear."

OddBalls managing director Will Cooper said: "It’s fantastic to partner with the National Ice Hockey League, hopefully it is the first step into becoming a recognised brand in the ice hockey world."

To see the full range of OddBalls underwear, sportswear and accessories visit
www.myoddballs.com.

For more about the NIHL and WNIHL visit
www.eiha.co.uk

Dumfries To Host International Four Team U18 Women’s Tournament

Ice Hockey UK will link-up with Dumfries and Galloway Council to host a four-team international women’s tournament in Dumfries in November.


Great Britain Under-18 Women will be joined by Poland U18 Women, Spain U18 Women and Iceland Women for the tournament at the Dumfries Ice Bowl from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th November 2019.


GB Women head coach, Cheryl Smith, said: “Tournaments like this are fantastic preparation for a World Championship and they benefit the squad so much.
“I am sure there will be new faces on the under-18 roster this year, so getting them competitive games ahead of a World Championship is important.
“It is important for them and also for the coaches as we will get to see how they react in a game situation.”


It’s the fifth year of the tournament but this season Iceland Women will take the place of Hungary U18 Women.


Andy French, IHUK general secretary, said: “It is fantastic to be holding the four-team tournament once again.


“This year we welcome Iceland to the tournament and I would like to thank all the nations and Dumfries council for their co-operation.”


Councillor Adam Wilson, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Events Champion, said: “We are excited to hold another international tournament at the Ice Bowl in Dumfries.


“We have a great working relationship with Ice Hockey UK and we look forward to welcoming GB, Poland, Spain and Iceland to the Ice Bowl.”


Schedule and ticket prices will be confirmed in due course.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

NIHL Player of the Month Awards - September 2019



The National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) are pleased to announce the winners of September’s Player of the Month in each of our five competition divisions. A panel of independent media experts have deliberated and the winners can be revealed.


The Players of the Month for September are:

NIHL National – Tomasz Malasinski (Swindon Wildcats)
Malasinski has been the go-to player for the Wildcats and although he has been scoring an average of 2.5ppg, this is against a background of very strong line and team mates which has made standing out far harder than it would have been were he on another team.


Also shortlisted – Matty Davies (Hull Pirates), Nathan Salem (Sheffield Steeldogs), Radek Meidl (Leeds Chiefs)


NIHL North 1 – David Longstaff (Whitley Warriors)
Six goals and six assists for the evergreen forward, scoring a goal in 30 consecutive seasons. Has spearheaded the Warriors’ offence in their early games including a hat-trick against Solway Sharks. Still possesses uncanny passing ability around the net.


Also shortlisted – Jaakko Heiskanen (Solway Sharks), Thomas Soar (Solihull Barons)


NIHL South 1 – Sean Norris (Slough Jets)
Highly rated Slough Jets forward Sean Norris has lived up to his billing, leading the scoring charts in the Britton Conference. The youngster’s eight goals and eight assists have helped his side top the table losing just once in their opening six games.


Also shortlisted – Vanya Antonov (Streatham), Adam Carr (Streatham), Sam Talbot (Slough Jets)


NIHL North 2 – Thomas Humphries (Sheffield Senators)
In the ultra-competitive Laidler divison, Humphries has led the Sens to third place in the league with 2-1-1 record. Humphries has potted eight goals and added four assists which included a hat-trick at Telford, scoring the OT winner for good measure.


Also shortlisted – Mark Florence (Hull Jets), Joshua Stockton (Bradford Bulldogs)


NIHL South 2 – Stephen Woodford (Haringey Huskies)
Huskies captain Stephen Woodford impressed in the month of September, leading from the front as he scored seven goals and assisted on a further five to help the North London club to an unbeaten start to the league campaign.


Also shortlisted – Kamil Kinkor (Streatham 2), James Pentecost (Haringey Huskies)




An NIHL spokesman said: “Congratulations to all of the winners, even early in this season the teams are playing some great hockey and it was not an easy decision for our panels to pick their shortlist let alone the eventual winner.
“The October contest begins today and we’re looking forward to another fantastic month of NIHL hockey right across all divisions and here’s to another closely fought Player of the Month award.”


Photo credits: Tomasz Malasinski by Steve Brodie. David Longstaff by IceHockeyMedia. Sean Norris by Slough Jets. Thomas Humphries by Steve Brodie. Stephen Woodford by Phil3 Productions

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Widnes Wild Women's Team Preview - WNIHL Div 1 N Season 2019/20

Wild celebrations during the women's team's 6-10 pre-season win over Solway (Photo by Douglas McCallum / Copper Tree Photography)

The Widnes Wild Women’s Team play their first home game of the season this Sunday 22nd September when they take on the Solway Sharks Ladies Team in a pre-season challenge match at Planet Ice Widnes – 5.30 p.m. face off.

The Wild Women are playing in Division 1 North this Season, where the Sharks are likely to be one of their main challengers for the league title. The Wild Women beat the Solway team 6 – 10 in a friendly game back in August but both teams will have different players available for this encounter, so it should be a fascinating game.

The game will also see the launch of the Edith Smith Memorial Award for Most Valuable Player, which will be presented at each of the Wild Women’s home games this season. The award commemorates Edith Smith who was Britain’s first Warranted Woman Police Officer, who is buried in St. Mary’s churchyard, Halton.

The women’s game against Solway this Sunday faces off at 5.30 p.m., admission is just £1 per person and the café will be open.


The full list of fixtures for the Wild women’s team this season is:

Sunday 22nd September: Home v Solway Sharks (Challenge Match) Face off: 5.30pm
Edith Smith MVP Trophy Launch

Sunday 6th October: Home v Sheffield Shadows - Face off: 5.30pm
Match Sponsor: Unison Liverpool John Moores University & Andrew Shutt, Paul Boardman, Martin Naden and Sam Ellison.

Saturday, 16th November: away at Telford Wrekin Raiders

Sunday 15th December: Home v Solway Sharks - Face off: 5.30pm
Match Sponsor: Available

Saturday 21st December: away at Sheffield Shadows

Sunday 5th January 2020: Home v Nottingham Vipers - Face off: 5.30pm
Match Sponsor: Available

Saturday, 11th January 2020 away at Grimsby Wolves

Sunday 16th February 2020: Home v Grimsby Wolves - Face off: 5.30pm
Match Sponsor: Available

Sunday 1st March 2020: Home v Telford Wrekin Raiders - Face off: 5.30pm
Match Sponsor: Available

Saturday, 28th March 2020: away at Solway Sharks

Saturday 18th April 2020: away at Nottingham Vipers

30th/31st May 2020: Women’s Play Off Weekend at Sheffield


You can find out more about sponsorship opportunities for the Widnes Wild women’s team for the new season HERE

Widnes Wild Weekend Preview: 21st & 22nd September

Wild's Jakub Hajek (#12) fires in a shot in the 2-3 away win at Blackburn (Photo by Thomas Foy)

The YKK-sponsored Widnes Wild are away in cup action this Sunday 22nd September, when they take on Moralee Division Blackburn Hawks at the Planet Ice Arena in Blackburn – 5.30 p.m. face off.

This will be quite a test for the Wild as, while they have already played the Hawks twice in pre-season games – winning the away encounter 2 – 3 in Blackburn and then losing 5 – 10 at home – but form from warm-up games counts for very little when it comes to the competitive season.

The Wild have taken the bold step of entering the NIHL Midland Cup this year, which will put them up against four teams from the higher Moralee Division – Blackburn Hawks, Sutton Sting, Solihull Barons and Nottingham Lions. There is a wide gap in terms of team budgets and standard of play between the two Divisions but it will be a useful exercise for the Wild to judge where they currently stand competition-wise in relation to the higher tier.

It will be an even tougher test this weekend, as the Wild will be missing six players – M.J.Clancy, Mikey Gilbert, Dan Bracegirdle, Tom Ratcliffe and Chris Gee are all unable to play through injury, while Czech import Michal Novak, who had a good pre season, will be missing for personal reasons. This notwithstanding, a game against the Hawks is always very entertaining and it will be fascinating to see what happens on Sunday.

The Wild are then away to Sheffield Senators the following Saturday 28th September and are next at home the day after on Sunday 29th September, when they entertain Nottingham Lions in the Midland Cup at Planet Ice Widnes. Face Off is at 5.30 p.m. and doors open at 4.45 p.m.

The new Wild Academy Under 18 Team play their first ever home game this Saturday, 21st September 2019, when they take on the Solihull Under 18 Team at Planet Ice, Widnes. The game faces off at 7.45 p.m. and admission is free.

The Widnes Wild Women’s Team play their first home game of the season this Sunday 22nd September when they take on the Solway Sharks Ladies Team in a pre-season challenge match at Planet Ice Widnes. Face off is at 5.30 p.m., admission is just £1 per person and the café will be open.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Blind Ice Hockey - First Ever UK Event


Action from the UK's first ever blind ice hockey event - held at Planet Ice Widnes (Photo by Hannah Walker)

The Planet Ice Rink at Widnes played host to the first ever Blind Ice Hockey event to be held in the UK on Saturday 14th September. The aim was to introduce blind and visually impaired people to the sport and attracted participants from across the country.

Blind ice hockey uses a larger than normal sized puck, which has ball bearings inside so that players can hear where it is. Coaches and volunteers are also on the ice to guide players while they play and oversee safety. The organisers – Blind Ice Hockey UK – are organising similar taster events at other rinks across the country and are hoping to attract more participants with a view to setting up a team for future paralympic competitions.

The next taster course will take place at Oxford Ice Rink on Saturday 12th October at 4pm.

You can find out more from the organisers, Blind Ice Hockey UK HERE


Photo left:  A participant trying out blind ice hockey, with a helper. Photo right:  Nathan Tree (blind ice hockey player) with Widnes volunteers Andrew Wycherley and Colin Ellis.  (Both photos by Hannah Walker)  

Monday, 12 August 2019

Summer Classic Cup: Wyre Seagulls Win Play Off Trophy


The Wyre Seagulls won their second Summer Classic Cup Play Off title in a row, with a thrilling 0 – 4 win over the Flintshire Phantoms in the Play Off Final at iceSheffield on Sunday, 11th August 2019. 

It was an exciting finale to a Tournament that started back in December 2018 and included ten teams, split into Eastern and Western Conferences.  Both the Seagulls and the Phantoms qualified for the Play Offs weekend by finishing first and second in the Western Conference, respectively. 

The Phantoms snatched the top spot in dramatic fashion with a 1 – 4 away win over the Seagulls in a game that was played at the Planet Ice Rink in Widnes, due to the Blackburn rink being closed for refurbishment.   Because of the timing of that final group game, there was no time left before the Sheffield weekend to arrange and play the quarter finals that had originally been expected, so the top two went straight into the semi finals.

With less disruption to the Eastern Conference fixtures, table toppers Grimsby Stormers beat Sheffield Ice Tigers 12 – 4 in the first quarter final and third place Kingston City Knights beat runners up, second place Whitley Wild Cats, 3 – 4 away in the north east to secure the other semi final berth.

In Saturday’s Play Off semi final games, the Wyre Seagulls beat the Grimsby Stormers 9 – 5 and the Flintshire Phantoms beat Kingston City Knights 8 – 2 to set up a repeat of the Western Conference battle for Sunday’s Play Off final.

The third place game between the two Eastern Conference sides saw Grimsby Stormers beat Kingston City Knights.

The Play Off final saw the Wyre Seagulls beat the Phantoms 4 – 0, with goals from Christian Wareing (2), Adam Fleet and Matt Duncan the difference between the two teams.  

Somewhat fittingly, the Wyre Seagulls became the first team to lift the highly impressive Summer Classic Trophy, which is similar in size and design to the world-famous Stanley Cup and which has been named in memory of former Blackburn Rec. ice hockey player Rob Craig.  

The exceptionally well organised ice hockey Summer Classic Cup will return for 2020, possibly with different teams and different arrangements, or possibly not, and we are very much looking forward to it. 

Congratulations to the organisers, and all the teams, volunteers and officials involved and huge thanks to all the sponsors.