Saturday, 22 July 2017

STOP PRESS! 2017 Yearbook To Include Elite League & EPL

Following Stewart Roberts’ shock announcement that he will not be producing the eternally excellent Ice Hockey Annual this year – and a bit of arm twisting from a few people behind the scenes as well - we have decided that we will extend this year’s Ice Hockey Review Yearbook to include brief details of the Elite League and EPL for the 2016/17 season.

This won’t be the full team by team coverage that we devote to the NIHL teams as we are too far along with arrangements to be able to drastically change content at this late stage but there will be league tables, scoring charts and a few photos and articles to, at least, maintain a presence.

As we will also be featuring the EIHA women’s leagues for the second season in a row and also dipping an exploratory toe into the Scottish National League as well, we believe that this will be the first time in recent years – or maybe even ever - that a printed publication has included EIHL, EPL, NIHL North 1 & 2, NIHL South 1, 2E & 2W, WEL, WPL, WD1N, WD1S and SNL.

Despite all this extra content, the original “earlybird” offer price still applies for orders placed before 1st September.  You can reserve your copy now by following the link below. 

Monday, 17 July 2017

Summer Cup: Widnes Wildcats 3 - Kingston Cobras 2

Sunday 16th July 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Widnes Wildcats 3- Kingston Cobras 2
Period Scores: 2-0, 0-2, 1-0
Penalties in Minutes:  Widnes 18 – Kingston 6
Widnes Scoring: Martin Dietrich 3+0, Neil Herring 0+1, Andrejs Tenbergs 0+1

The Widnes Wildcats picked up their first win in this season’s Summer Cup competition with a well fought 3-2 victory over 4th place Kingston Cobras at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

The game started late due to excess surface water on the ice and, because of that, the first two periods were played “running time”, without stopping the clock for minor stoppages. This shortened game time gave the match an extra urgency and both teams played good flowing hockey throughout with very few hold ups.

After a very evenly balanced opening, it was the Wildcats who took the lead after 15 minutes when, on a powerplay, Martin Dietrich prodded the puck through a mass of players in front of the Cobras’ goal to put the home side ahead.

The lead was doubled just 50 seconds later when Dietrich, again, fired in a long shot from wide of the left wing and the score remained 2-0 to the Wildcats at the end of the first period.

The second period was also very evenly matched and keenly contested by both sides.  The visitors pulled a goal back on 28 minutes and then equalised on 33 minutes, leaving the contest on a knife edge with still almost half the game to be played.

The score was still 2-2 at the second break and both sides still had everything to play for in the last period.

The third period was played in normal “stop time” – with the clock being stopped each time the whistle was blown but the game was played at a furious pace with the action switching so quickly from end to end that there was hardly a moment to draw breath.

The deciding goal came in the 50th minute - scored, once again, by the Wildcats’ Martin Dietrich – and it was all the more of an achievement as the home side were shorthanded at the time due to an interference penalty. 

The home side had chances to extend the lead in the closing minutes but they were repelled by a resolute Kingston defence and the Cobras also had opportunities to snatch a late equaliser.

With just 90 seconds left on the clock a Kingston attacker hit the post and then, in the very last seconds of the game, the Wildcats netminder made a fine close-range save to block another attack but found himself sprawled on the ice outside his goal with the loose puck rolling in slow motion towards two Cobras players. The resulting shot hit the side netting and went wide and the Wildcats held on to notch up a well -deserved - and highly entertaining 3-2 victory.      

Despite this win, the Wildcats remain they are bottom of the Summer Cup table with 3 points from their 6 games to date.  They are just one point behind second bottom Solihull Vikings and two points behind Grimsby Lightning and Blackburn Falcons, with games in hand over all the other teams, so there is still a lot to play for in terms of final league position and possible play off qualification.

They are away next Sunday against Blackburn Falcons and play at home the Sunday after - 30th July 2017 – when they entertain Grimsby Lightning in a 4.30pm face off at Silver Blades Widnes.   

You can watch video highlights of the Wildcats’ win over Kingston – and lots of other games as well - courtesy of official Widnes Wild videographer Colin Ellis on YouTube, here: HERE
Next Sunday – 23rd July - the Riverside Raiders are in action at home to Blackburn Buccaneers in their last group game of the Puckstop Summer Classic at Silver Blades Widnes. The game faces off at 4.30pm and admission is free.

Sunday, 9 July 2017 Summer Classic: Blackburn Buccaneers 1 - Riverside Raiders 10

Adam Jenkins scored 4 goals for the Raiders at Blackburn
(Photographer credit to be advised)
Saturday 8th July 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Blackburn Buccaneers 1 – Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 10
Period Scores: 1-2, 0-3, 0-5
Penalties in Minutes:  Blackburn 10 – Raiders 22

Raiders Scoring: Gez Evans 4+1, Adam Jenkins 4+0, Owen Tennant 1+1, Howard Hughes 1+0, Adam Murphy, Dave Priestley & Eemeli Vuorihovi all 0+2, Jack Walker and Mike Teinert both 0+1

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders maintained their challenge for honours at the top of the Puckstop Summer Classic table win a creditable 1-10 win over the Blackburn Buccaneers away at the Silver Blades Blackburn Arena on Saturday night.

They needed a hatful of goals in order to try and make some headway into the goal difference advantage that league leaders Grimsby Stormers currently enjoy and while the result was eventually quite emphatic, for much of the game, it was an awful lot closer.

The opening phase was very tense affair with both teams testing each other out while trying to give away.    The score actually remained at 0-0 until the 14th minute when Owen Tennant broke the deadlock in favour of the visitors.  Gez Evans doubled the advantage   3 minutes later but the Buccs pulled a goal back within 30 seconds of the restart to end the period just 1-2 behind.

The Raiders began to take control in the second period and two goals from Adam Jenkins reinforced their superiority.  Owen Tennant fell foul of the match referee at the mid-point after questioning a decision and was banished for the remainder of the game for “abuse of an official” but a goal from Howard Hughes in the dying seconds of the period extended the lead and put the Raiders well on top heading into the final third.

Any hopes that the Blackburn team had of pulling themselves back into the game were hampered by the string of penalties that they picked up in the third period.  The first of these – for hooking – was punished by a powerplay goal by Gez Evans in the 47th minute and further strikes by Evans (2 more) and two more for Adam Jenkins rounded off the scoring for the night.

The result sees the Raiders move to within 2 points of Grimsby Stormers at the top of the Puckstop Summer Classic table with a game in hand. They could match the Lincolnshire side on points if they win their last game at home to the Buccaneers on Sunday 23rd July.

Next Sunday - 16th July - the Widnes Wildcats are in action at home to Kingston Cobras in the Summer Cup at Silver Blades Widnes, where they are still looking to pick up their first win of the competition.   The game faces off at 4.30pm and admission is free.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Raiders Edged Out In Thirteen Goal Thriller

Raiders' Dave Priestley (#70) scored a goal and was named MVP. 
Photo by David Law Photography
Sunday 2nd July 2017 – Challenge Match
Riverside Raiders 6 – Telford Spartans 7
Period Scores: 1-2, 1-4, 4-1
Penalties In Minutes: Raiders 4- Telford 0              

Match Officials:  Josh Humphreys, Matt Humphreys.

Raiders Scoring:  Owen Tennant 2+0, Dave Priestley, Anthony Hughes, Jack Walker, Eemeli Vuorihovi all 1+0, Ben Donkin & Jordan Birtwistle both 0+1, Sam Plant 0+3

The Widnes based Riverside Raiders team narrowly lost out 6-7 in a thrilling and highly entertaining challenge match against the Telford Spartans at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

This was a welcome break from the rigours of the competitive Summer Classic competition which they take up again next weekend and was just the sort of the test they needed ahead of the latter stages of that event.

The game was played in good spirit throughout and was closely contested. The Raiders opened the scoring in the 5th minute with a great strike from Owen Tennant, assisted by Sam Plant.

The lead did not last long, however, as Telford equalised some 4 minutes later and then edged ahead with a second strike on 13 minutes and the score remained 1-2 at the first break.

Despite being numerically inferior – having only travelled with 9 skaters and one netminder – it was the Telford team who were quicker out of the blocks for the second period and they extended their lead with two goals within 90 seconds of each other - at 24.18 & 25. 57.  The Raiders finally managed to rally and pulled one back through Eemeli Vuorihovi but two more quick fire goals from the Spartans with 10 seconds of each other around the 33rd minute mark left the home side with a mountain to climb in the final period.

At 2-6 down, the Raiders needed a special period to turn things around and it got off to a great start when Anthony Hughes poked in a loose puck after it had been fumbled by the Spartans’ netminder on the goal line just 46 seconds after the restart.  

More goals followed - from David Priestley (43.48 - asst Plant & Donkin) and Jack Walker (47.23 - asst Birtwistle) and, with Telford visibly tiring through lack of numbers, it looked as if a comeback might be on the cards. 

The Spartans called a time-out at 49.33 and that may well have won the game for them as it completely interrupted the Raiders’ momentum and Telford came out looking revitalised and went on to score their 7th goal.  With just under 10 minutes to go, there was still all to play for and the Raiders pulled a goal back at 54.09 through Owen Tennant (asst Sam Plant).

The last 5 minutes were incredibly tense as the home side pushed forward trying to score an equaliser while the Spartans battled doggedly to keep them out and also threatened the Raiders’ net on several breakout opportunities.

The resulting 6-7 scoreline will have been a disappointment to the Raiders who played well overall but just let the Spartans edge too far ahead in the second period to be able to rein them in.  

The Riverside Raiders are away next weekend when they play the Blackburn Buccaneers at the Silver Blades Arena in Blackburn.  They play their last Summer Classic group game on Sunday 23rd July at home at Silver Blades Widnes.  Face off is at 4.30pm and admission is free.


The Widnes Wildcats are in home action a week on Sunday (16th July) when they take on the Hull-based Kingston Cobras in the Summer Cup.  Once again, face off is ta 4.30pm and admission is free.


You can see video highlights of the Raiders v Spartans game – and lots of other great games played at Silver Blades Widnes - on YouTube, courtesy of the Widnes Wild official videographer Colin Ellis.    CLICK  HERE  TO VIEW

Photo by David Law Photography - see more great photos HERE

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Elvis Joins Oliver's Army

Elvis Veldze - MVP for Fylde Flyers
(Photo by Adam Tranter)
We don’t normally cover new player signings on here – mainly because, if you imagine that some 40 teams are going to be announcing 20 odd players each over the course of the summer, that means that we would never have time to do anything else – and we are already trying very hard to get the new 2017 NIHL Yearbook ready at this particular time!

Having said that, this particular signing is rather special as Widnes Wild’s new Latvian forward Elvis Veldze was previously with the Fylde Flyers team that we used to work with and so is worthy of a mention. 
The returning Widnes Wild player coach, Ollie Barron, looks to be putting together a very strong team for the forthcoming NIHL North 2 (Laidler) season with many of the top names from last season coming back for another crack at the league title and, with the signing of a second import to boost the line-up, he has certainly set his stall out.      

Elvis is a very exciting player to watch. He is very tall, has a rocket shot and used to score goals from behind the half way line – although that was, obviously, easier at the Flyers‘ SubZero home rink in Cleveleys which was only half the size of everybody else’s….!

In his first game for Fylde in October 2011, he scored 5 goals in the Flyers’ 18-6 defeat away at Solway Sharks - which may not sound much but they had been shut out 16-0 the previous week at the same venue - and that eventually turned out to be the highest score by a visiting team away at Solway all that season.  Now, I don’t have any particular figures to back this up but I doubt that many visiting players have scored 5 goals away at Solway over the years…

Elvis was the Fylde Flyers’ top goal scorer In the 2011/12 season with 33 goals in 25 games and finished their second top scorer overall with 33+20, behind another current Widnes player Bobby Caunce who was top with 27+37. The following season, he had trouble balancing work / training and travel commitments and only managed 5 games for the Flyers in which he scored 2+1. 

Elvis picked up 26 PIM in this game against Blackburn Eagles
in 2012/13    (Photo by Lisa Jones)
The Flyers struggled to be competitive in the two years that they existed and were unable to develop as a team as they had trouble attracting new players to come and play on their “compact and bijou" playing surface. This meant that we probably never got to see the “real deal” Veldze.
He has spent time in the intervening years playing back in his native Latvia so will, undoubtedly, return to these shores a more experienced and rounded player.  It will be interesting to see how he fares this season playing with a competitive team on a fully sized rink!      

Friday, 9 June 2017

Puckstop Summer Classic: Wyre Seagulls (Blackburn) 1 - Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 11

Raiders' Gez Evans (#9) and Ben Donkin (#16) at a previous home game.
Photo by David Law
Saturday 3rd June 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Wyre Seagulls (Blackburn) 1 – Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 11
Period Scores: 0-3, 1-4, 0-4
Penalties In Minutes:  Wyre 12 – Raiders 8

Raiders Scoring: Sam Plant 4+4, Owen Tennant 3+5, Geraint Evans 3+4, A Jenkins 1+0

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders consolidated their position at the top of the Puckstop Summer Classic table with an 11-1 win away in Blackburn against the Wyre Seagulls on Saturday night. 

The game was very close in its opening stages until Owen Tennant edged the Raiders ahead after 12 minutes.  Goals from Gez Evans and Sam Plant followed and the visitors were leading 0-3 at the first break.

Four more unanswered goals followed in the second period and the Riversiders were leading 0-7 by the time Wyre scored their first goal of the night just seconds before the buzzer at the end of the second period.

4 more goals in the third period ensured that the Raiders will be in strong position come the end of the group phase when teams tied on points are separated on goal difference - and NOT results between the two teams as has been more customary in British ice hockey in recent years.

Sam Plant led the scoring with 4 goals and 4 assists and Owen Tennant hit 3+5. They both now join Gez Evans on the Summer Classic scorers’ leader board. He scored 3+4 on the night and leads the standings with 25 points overall.       

The Riverside Raiders are next in action on Sunday 2nd July when they take on a Telford team in a challenge match at Silver Blades Widnes.  Face off is at 4.30pm and admission is free.
Photo by David Law - see more great photos HERE

Monday, 5 June 2017

Match Report: Halton Huskies (Widnes) 11 - Wyre Seagulls (Blackburn) 3

Sunday 4th June 2017 – Challenge Match
Halton Huskies 11 – Wyre Seagulls 3
Period Scores:  4-0, 3-0, 4-3
Penalties In Minutes: Huskies 53 – Seagulls 12

Huskies Scoring:
Jeff Chapman 3+3, Anthony Hughes 2+2, James Kelly & John Carter 2+0, Edward Ridding 1+1, Stephen Burns 1+0, Anthony Higham, Howard Hughes, James Williams, Ross Holland all 0+1

Seagulls Scoring:
Samuel Calderbank 3+0, Mark Kay 0+3, David Grogan 0+1, Matthew Patterson 0+1

The Widnes based Halton Huskies recreational team notched up an impressive 11-3 win over Blackburn based Wyre Seagulls at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

The home side took the lead as early as the 40th second of the game with a goal by John Carter and went on to lead 4-0 by the end of the first period with a second strike from Carter and then goals from Edward Ridding and Anthony Hughes. 

The goals continued to come in the second period with a second for Hughes and then two from Jeff Chapman and the Huskies led 7-0 at the end of 40 minutes’ play.

Now, despite the scoreline, this was by no means a one-sided game and the Wyre Seagulls gave a very good account of themselves throughout the game. It was mainly due to the heroics in goal from Halton netminder Stephen O’Brien that kept the visitors’ attack at bay and this eventually led to him being named MVP for the Huskies.

Having gone close earlier on in the game when a rasping shot hit the bar and came out again, the Seagulls eventually broke their duck in the 50th minute with a goal from Sam Calderbank.  By that time, however, the Huskies had already scored two more – through James Kelly and Stephen Burns – and the score stood at 9-1 with 10 minutes left to play.

The Huskies hit back straight away with a second goal from James Kelly just 15 seconds from the restart and a fascinating phase of play ensued.

Jeff Chapman scored his hat trick goal for the huskies just 80 seconds after that and then Sam Calderbank completed his own hat trick for the Seagulls with two goals within 10 seconds of each other at 55.45 and 55.55.  That flurry of activity rounded off the action for the game and the clock ticked down on a hugely entertaining contest.

The Widnes Wildcats are in action next Sunday 11th June 2017 when they play Durham Dragons in the Summer Cup at Silver Blades Widnes.  Face off is at 8.30pm and admission is free.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Puckstop Summer Classic: Riverside Raiders 17 - Sheffield Ice Tigers 4

Match Details:
Sunday 28th May 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 17 – Sheffield Ice Tigers 4
Period Scores: 6-0, 7-3, 4-1
Penalties in Minutes:  Raiders 16 – Sheffield 12

Raiders Scoring:  Thomas Yates 6+2, Geraint Evans 5+1, Owen Tennant 3+3, Jack Walker 2+2, Adam Jenkins 1+2, Anthony Hughes 0+2, Elizabeth Wright 0+1

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders team got back to winning ways with a comprehensive 17-4 win over Sheffield Ice Tigers in the Puckstop Summer Classic at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

The Raiders took the lead as early as the 3rd minute and, after adding 4 more by the end of the first period, the game already looked over as a contest against the bottom team in the group.

Despite the scoreline, this was a highly entertaining to watch and not, in fact, quite as one-sided as it might appear.  The Ice Tigers gave a good account themselves and hit back with 3 goals of their own in the second period which was particularly robustly contested – and finished in dramatic style with goals for both teams and a raft of penalties all coming in the last 90 seconds before the buzzer.

With the score standing at 13-3 after 40 minutes of play, the third period was little more than a formality, but the resulting 17-4 scoreline means gives the Raiders a good cushion in terms of goal difference which may become crucial in the deciding stages of the competition.

Scoring-wise, Thomas Yates led the way with 6+2 – including a first period hat-trick, while the competition’s top scorer Gez Evans hit 5+1. Owen Tennant – who also coaches the successful Widnes Wild women’s team added 3+3 which contributed towards him receiving the MVP award at the end of the game.

The Raiders are away next Sunday 3rd June when they face Wyre Seagulls at the Silver Blades Blackburn Arena in a 6pm face off and after that, they have a few weeks’ respite before playing Telford in a challenge match back at Silver Blades, Widnes on Sunday 2nd July.

The Widnes Wildcats lost 3-6 at home to Solihull Vikings in their latest Summer Cup game at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday night.  They are next at home on Sunday 11th June when they face Durham Dragons in an 8.30pm face off.

Next Sunday, 4th June, the Widnes rink’s third recreational team the Halton Huskies are in action when they take on the Wyre Seagulls in a challenge match at Silver Blades Widnes. The game faces off at 7.15 and admission is free.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Your Eagles Stories Wanted For Complete History Book.

We are putting together – with the invaluable help of Darren Shaw and Andrew Duxbury - a complete history of the Blackburn Eagles team.
The book will include:  
Full stats for their 5 seasons from 12/13 to 16/17, 
full "A to Z” player directory with stats and photos
all time highest achievers etc
Lancashire Raptors archive
but we also want to include people’s individual stories as well.
If former players, coaches, team staff, supporters etc,  would like to share some of their favourite Eagles memories, please drop me or Darren a line. It doesn’t have to be “War & Peace” – approx. 450 words with your favourite photo would suffice – and we’ll try and include a varied selection in the fished book. 
Just hockey banter and good memories, please - no politics  or “anti-rink owner” stuff as that will not be accepted. 
Deadline for all submissions is next Sunday 4th June.
For more information, contact us HERE

Monday, 22 May 2017 Summer Classic - Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 5 - Grimsby Stormers 6

Sunday 21st May 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 5 – Grimsby Stormers 6
Period Scores: 3-0, 1-2, 1-4
Penalties in Minutes: Raiders – Grimsby

Raiders Scoring:  Geraint Evans 2+2, Sam Plant 2+0, Owen Tennant 1+0, Jack Walker 0+1, Ben Donkin 0+1

The Widnes based Riverside Raiders lost their 100% record in the Puckstop Summer Classic in dramatic fashion with a narrow 5-6 defeat at the hands of the Grimsby Stormers at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.   

The Raiders had won 8-10 away in Grimsby the week before but this meeting of the top two teams in the group was always going to be a close-fought and robust encounter and the importance of the occasion was highlighted by the presence of IIHF and Elite League official Kris Wells as match referee.

The game started well for the home side who took the lead in the 5th minute through a Sam Plant strike and extended it to 3-0 by the first break with two quick goals within 12 seconds of each other from, first, Geraint Evans and then Plant again.

The period break seemed to interrupt the Raiders’ momentum as Grimsby looked the better side coming out for the second period. Two goals - in the 24th and 27th minutes - pulled them back into the game and it wasn’t until the 35th minute that the Raiders managed to muster a reply – a well taken shorthanded goal by Evans for his second of the game.

The score stood at 4-2 to the Raiders at end of the second period but there was still lots to play for in the last 20 minutes.

A goal for Grimsby after just 2 minutes of the restart put the game back on a knife edge and then the Raiders were called for having too many men on the ice during a line change.  A raft for penalties for both sides followed this and the Raiders seemed to lose their flow at this point.

Things could have got even worse for the Raiders as the Stormers were awarded a penalty shot just 3 minutes later which might have led to the equalising goal had the puck not been bravely blocked by the Riverside netminder.

A Grimsby goal did eventually follow on 49 minutes to put them on level pegging but Raiders’ Owen Tennant fired home to edge the home team back into the lead with just under 5 minutes left to play.

The lead lasted just under 90 seconds this time before the Stormers levelled again and Raiders’ hearts were broken a minute later when Grimsby took the lead for the first time in the game with the clock standing at 57.42.

The remaining time was played out at a frantic pace with penalties for both sides but no further goals were scored, meaning that the Stormers were able to come away with a 5-6 victory.

The Raiders till top the Puckstop Summer Classic table with 6 points from their 4 games to date.  The Stormers remain second with 4 points from 3 games and the Wyre Seagulls join them on 4 points after their 13-5 win over Blackburn Buccaneers.

The Riverside Raiders are at home again next Sunday 28th May when they play the Sheffield Ice Tigers at Silver Blades Widnes. Face off is at 4.30pm and admission is free.

The Widnes Wildcats are also at home next Sunday 28th May when they entertain the Solihull Vikings in a Summer Cup game at Silver Blades Widnes. Face off is at 8.30pm - after the Riverside Raiders game - and admission is free.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

"Ice Cold Murder" - murder mystery story by Michael Chambers - Pre Order Now!

Here’s a book that will be of interest to hockey fans and non-hockey fans alike – the reason being that it is not for once a statistics and history publications but a murder mystery story!  But there is still some ice hockey content because it is a murder mystery set around an ice hockey match. 

Needless to say, the story is completely fictitious but the settings and characters are based around the old Nottingham Ice Stadium, players and people who worked there and used to go to Panthers matches.

The book has been written by Michael Chambers - who is better known for his statistical histories – but I have had a (very) small hand in helping to put it together so am in a unique position to be able to tell you a bit about it.

Basically (without giving away too much of the plot…) somebody gets murdered and there are lots of odd comings and goings and people with secrets to hide and hidden agendas to cover up. We follow Inspector Dilley as he tries to un-weave the mass web of deceptions and intrigue and see if we can guess who the murderer is before he announces it at the end.

The book has maps and diagrams to help you understand the layout of the crime scene and there are delightful photos of some of the characters and locations.      

Even if you are not interested in ice hockey, you will still find it a good read from a crime novel point and if you are familiar with the old Ice Stadium and some of its characters, then you will probably enjoy it from a fun nostalgia perspective as well.    

“Ice Cold Murder” by Michael Chambers is due for publication at the end of September and costs £8.75 including standard UK postage.  It is a special limited edition so if you want to make sure of reserving your copy, drop Mick a line now  HERE  and he will sort out payment arrangements.  

Monday, 15 May 2017

Wildcats Outfoxed As Falcons Swoop

Sunday 14th May 2017 – Summer Cup
Widnes Wildcats 2 – Blackburn Falcons 8
Period Scores:  1-4, 1-3, 0-1
Penalties In Minutes: tba
Widnes Scoring:  tba

The Widnes Wildcats put in a battling performance in their Summer Cup game at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday but unfortunately ended up on the wrong end of a 2-8 scoreline at the hands of the Blackburn Falcons.

While the defeat may be disappointing, the Wildcats can take heart from the fact that they were up against a team bristling with former Blackburn Hawks and Blackburn Eagles / Lancashire Raptors national league players and that, despite the eventual scoreline, they actually matched them play for play for extended periods of the game.

As it turned out, the Wildcats actually took the lead after just 80 seconds of play after the puck took an unfortunate deflection off a Blackburn player’s skate and looped past the netminder into the goal.

The lead lasted until the 9th minute when the Falcons’ mounting pressure eventually paid off and they went on to score two more quick goals to lead 1-3 by the 12th minute.

The Wildcats called a 30-second time out following this and it helped break up the Falcons momentum and give the home side chance to reorganise. They held firm for a good five minutes and were only caught out at the back when pushing up for a second goal while on a powerplay, leaving the score at the end of the first period at 1-4 to the visitors.

The second period started badly for the Wildcats and three more goals put the Falcons 1-7 ahead by the mid-point of the game. Things began to get a bit physical and a Falcons’ player was sent to the penalty box.  The Wildcats were pushing forward to make the most of their man advantage when the puck took an unfortunate ricochet off a player’s stick and flew into the crowd. The match officials – who, otherwise, did a very good job all game – mysteriously decided to call the Wildcats’ player for “delaying the game”. 

It was somewhat unclear as to why they might have thought that a player from a team that was losing 1-7 and was on the attack on a powerplay might suddenly choose the delay the game but he was duly banished to the penalty box, thus denying the home team the man advantage.     

This incident provoked a notable phase of the game where the Wildcats were constantly under pressure and kept picking up minor penalties while trying to keep the Falcons at bay. They were forced to play 3 against 5 for the next 5 minutes or so and actually seemed to fare better while sitting back and concentrating on defending.

The Falcons thought they had scored again on 32 minutes but the goal was disallowed as it had come from a high stick and, once the various Widnes penalties had elapsed, they managed to get on the scoresheet again themselves to make the score 2-7.

The last 5 minutes of the second period were goalless and it took right up until the 55th minute of the game before the goal lamp was lit again – with Blackburn scoring their first goal since the 28th minute and rounding off the action for the match.   

The Widnes Wildcats’ next game is on Sunday 28th May when they face Solihull Vikings at Silver Blades Widnes.  It is a later than normal face off time – 8.30pm – because of the Riverside Raiders game against Sheffield beforehand which faces off at 4.30pm. Admission to both games is free so why not make an evening of it and enjoy some great competitive ice hockey…?

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Raiders Extend 100% Record in Summer Classic

Photo by James Birtwistle
Saturday 13th May 2017 – Summer Classic
Grimsby Stormers 8 – Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 10
Period Scores: 3-3, 3-4, 2-3
Penalties In Minutes: Grimsby 8 – Raiders 12

Raiders  Scoring:
Tom Yates 3+1, Owen Tennant, Elizabeth Wright & Geraint Lewis all 2+0, Sam Plant 1+1, David Thurnaby and Jack Warwick both 0+2,  Stephen  Harvey 0+1

The Widnes based Riverside Raiders maintained their impressive 100% start to the Summer Classic competition with an entertaining 8-10 win away at Grimsby Stormers.

The Grimsby rink is under threat of closure and it was only due to the facility being granted a six month reprieve while alternative funding options are being explored that this game was able to go ahead at all.  It was originally expected that all of the Stormers’ games would have to be played away for double points.

As it was, the home team were quickest out of the blocks and raced to a 3-0 lead by the 15th minute. A powerplay goal from the Raiders’ Elizabeth Wright almost dead on 18 minute gave the Widnes side hope of an early comeback and then two quick goals in the last minute of the period -    from Owen Tennant and Sam Plant – tied the scores going into the first break.

The second period was as entertaining as the first with plenty of shots on both goals and an early goal from Thomas Yates edged the Raiders into a 3-4 lead. That lead lasted barely five minutes before the Stormers levelled the score but then goals from Wright, Tennant and Yates again put the visitors in a commanding position. However, a strike in between from the Stormers and another in the dying seconds of the period pulled the score back to 6-7 - with plenty still to play for in the remaining 20 minutes.

Two goals within seconds of each other around the 45 minute mark – scored by Yates and Geraint Evans - put the Raiders comfortably in front again but two quick goals back for Grimsby put Widnes hearts in mouths as a late fightback still looked distinctly possible.

However a shorthanded goal from Captain Lewis rounded off the scoring for the game and the Raiders came away with an important 8-10 victory.

The Raiders remain top of the Summer Classic league table with 6 points from their opening three games with Geraint Lewis topping the scoring charts with 7+1.

The Riverside Raiders are back at home next Sunday 21st May when they play the return fixture against Grimsby Stormers at Silver Blades Widnes.  Face off is at 4.30pm and admission is free.    

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Review; NIHL North Play Off Weekend Highlights DVD from Pyro Media - available to order now!

If you’re a follower of NIHL North ice hockey – or are now going to be next season after the merging of the divisions - here’s something you might like to have a look at. 

Matt Donnachie and the team at Pyro Media filmed all the games at the NIHL North Play Off weekend at iceSheffield in April and have made them available to buy and keep as an everlasting souvenir.

The games covered are the Moralee Conference semi-finals – Solway Sharks v Solihull Barons and Billingham Stars v Blackburn Hawks – that were played on the Saturday and the Moralee final that was played on the Sunday.  (If you don’t already know who won, I’m not going to spoil it for you until after you have watched the video…!)

There are also the two Laidler Conference semi-finals:  Blackburn Eagles v Sheffield Senators and Widnes Wild v Altrincham Aces from the Saturday - and the Laidler final from the Sunday as well.

As I wasn’t able to attend the actual weekend, it is great for me to be able to see everything that went on – and even if you were there, you probably won’t have seen everything that happened, so it will be nice to be able to have another look.

The video footage is taken from several viewpoints and there are slow motion replays of the main talking points.  Commentary is by the team from NIHL Radio who also did a really good job of providing the live play-by-play audio coverage via internet radio over the weekend itself.

Now the technical bit:  there are various options available to purchase and you can either buy them as a digital version or a physical DVD.  Depending on where your interest lies, you can order a single  game in its entirety or a highlights package of all games from the weekend and there are different pricing options and offers available.

Being a bit old fashioned, I chose the DVD version of the weekend highlights package and I have to say that it really is worth getting.

Last year’s DVD was good and a nice souvenir of the play offs but this year’s version incorporates a number of improvements.  For example, there are 2 separate discs in the DVD highlights package this year – one with the 3 Laidler games on it and one with the 3 Moralee games - and there is a "start menu" so that you can select which game you want to see. Each game has about 45 minutes of highlights and there are post match interviews and coverage of the trophy presentations as well.

To find out more about the different formats, options and packages - and to place your order – go to the official website at

Please note that the various offer prices are only valid for limited periods as stated on the website.  DVDs have to be ordered by the end of May at the latest.










Thursday, 11 May 2017

WPL Title Decider at Chelmsford This Sunday

Match action from Chelmsford Cobras' exciting 7-6 home win over
the Widnes Wild women's team earlier in the season. 
(Photo by Perry Tomlinson) 
There is a fascinating game in store at Chelmsford this Sunday lunchtime as the destiny of this season’s Women’s Premier League title will be decided.

It’s the final game of the league campaign for both Chelmsford Cobras and Streatham Storm and by happy coincidence, the top two teams in the division meet in a “winner takes all” encounter.

The Storm are currently top of the WPL table with 18 points from their 11 league games and the Cobras are just one point behind, having led the table for much of the season.

The Cobras beat Streatham 3-4 down in South London back in November but since then have only won two of their last 5 games – drawing away at both Nottingham Vipers and Widnes, who are both in the bottom half of the table – and losing their last game 8-3 away at Slough in what was the first game to be played on the temporary ice surface there.

The Storm have gone unbeaten since the start of the year and only dropped one point – in a 3-3 draw away at Milton Keynes last weekend – since their defeat by Chelmsford.

They played two games in April whereas, due to the vagaries of the league fixtures, the Cobras have not had a competitive game since 4th March so it will be interesting to see how that has a bearing on team performances.

With Streatham having a one point lead at the top of the table, a draw would be enough to hand them the title while Chelmsford obviously need to win the game to be crowned champions.

It would be an amazing turn-around for the Cobras, who finished bottom of the WPL last season, while Streatham finished in 3rd place and reached the play off final.

Streatham has a proud place in the history of women’s hockey and the earlier Streatham Strikers were one of the first properly organised women’s teams in the country with their own ice and facilities back in the early 1980s.  They won the early English Women’s League title in both 1986/86 and 1987/88 seasons.

Chelmsford Cobras take on Streatham Storm this Sunday 14th May at the Riverside Ice & Leisure Centre in Chelmsford in the match that will decide the Women’s Premier League championship. Face off is at 12.20 (midday…) and admission is free…!  


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Summer Cup: Widnes Wildcats 5 - Whitley Bay Islanders 8

Sunday 7th May 2017 – Summer Cup
Widnes Wildcats 5 – Whitley Bay Islanders 8
Period Scores:  1-3, 3-3, 1-2
Penalties In Minutes:  Widnes 37 – Whitley 49

Widnes Scoring:
Lubomir Felber 2+0, Dalibor Rakoczy 1+1,Andrejs Tenbergs & Phil Hamer both 1+0, Jake Berry, Lindsey Perry, Martin Dietrich & Neil Herring all 0+1

Match Report by Paul Breeze (

The Widnes Wildcats suffered defat in their first Summer Cup game of the 2017 competition as they were beaten 5-8 at home by the Whitley Bay Islanders at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

The game started well for the Wildcats and they took the lead as early as the 2d minute with a great solo goal by Lubomir Felber.  The visitors soon got into their stride after the long journey from the North East , equalising after 12 minutes and then scoring two further goal later on in the period to take a 1-3 lead into the first break.    

Two more goals early in the second period looked to have the game almost sewn up for the visitors but then things began to get rather lively.  A Whitley player picked up a 2 minute penalty for roughing at 28.51 and within 20 seconds, Andrejs Tenbergs pulled a goal back for the Wildcats on the resulting powerplay. This sparked an incident that saw two Whitley players banished from the game and Tenbergs himself pick up a 2 +match penalty.

In the aftermath of these penalties, the Wildcats scored two more goals – through Phil Hamer on 32 minutes and Dalibor Rakoczy 3 minutes later – to bring the score back to 4-5 but any hopes of a Widnes rally were dashed as the Islanders picked up another goal in the very last second of the period.

A 7th goal for the visitors midway through the third period looked to have settled the game although a second goal of the evening from Felber with some 6 minutes left on the clock did give the Widnes camp some cause for optimism. A Whitley powerplay goal in the very last minute of the game rounded off the action for a final score of 5-8.

The Wildcats are at home in cup action again next Sunday 14th May when they take on the Blackburn Falcons at Silver Blades Widnes.  The game faces off at 4.30pm and admission is free.




Sunday, 30 April 2017

Widnes Wild Souvenir Booklet - Available To Pre-Order Now!

A Year In the Wild - The 2016/17 season following Widnes Wild in the NIHL North Laidler Conference
A special souvenir booklet to celebrate Widnes Wild’s first trophy win in their relatively short 4 year history, featuring match reports from all Widnes Wild games for the season and game sheet information and photos as available.

It also includes end of season stats, interviews, a review of the Wild women’s team’s season and much more besides.  

Available to pre-order now – copies will be mailed out at the end of the summer break.

Selling price £7.50 inc free UK P&P